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Number of children being referred to gender identity clinics has quadrupled in five years – Telegraph.co.uk

Research suggests that just one per cent of the population experience gender issues. Although the number of transgender children is small, it is growing rapidly, she told the Telegraph Festival of Education last month.

Children – encouraged by their experiences at school – are beginning to question their gender identity at ever younger ages.

“In doing more than just supporting transgender children, and instead sowing confusion about gender identity, schools do neither boys nor girls any favours.”

Dr Williams added that the growing number of young children being referred for gender counselling stemmed from new policies being adopted by schools, adding that schools were now encouraging even the youngest children to question whether they are really a boy or a girl.

Dr Polly Carmichael, a leading NHS psychologist and director of the GIDS, defended the teaching of transgender issues in schools.

She told The Sunday Telegraph: It is good that schools are putting it on the agenda. It can never be negative if schools are being thoughtful and offering opportunities to discuss topical issues.

She added that gender is a complex subject, and children should only be taught about it in schools in an age appropriate manner.

Children can only be referred to GIDS by their GP or by the child and adolescent mental health service.

After six months of psycho-social assessment by a clinician, an action plan would be drawn up, which could be continuing with counselling, or it could be a physical intervention.

Children who have started puberty, from around the age of 12, can be referred on to an endocrinology clinic which can prescribe a course of hormone blockers, which postpones puberty.

Children aged 16 and over could be given cross-sex hormones, which would enable them to take on the physical characteristics of the opposite sex.

More than double the number of teenage girls compared to boys are referred to the GIDS, while in the younger age groups it is more common for boys to be referred.

Dr Carmichael said one possible explanation is that young girls who display more male attributes are seen as tomboys and so are less likely to be seen as a cause for concern among parents.

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Number of children being referred to gender identity clinics has quadrupled in five years – Telegraph.co.uk

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Prostate cancer that spreads typically occurs in lymph nodes and bones – Post-Bulletin

DEAR MAYO CLINIC: I am 63 and was diagnosed with prostate cancer two years ago. I had my prostate removed shortly after the diagnosis. I found out recently the cancer is now in my lymph nodes. What can I do to prevent it from spreading further?

When prostate cancer spreads out of the prostate gland, the most common places for it to occur are in the lymph nodes and bones. Although prostate cancer that has spread can be difficult to cure, treatment is available that may help slow or stop further spread of the cancer.

Prostate cancer is cancer that occurs in a man’s prostate gland a small walnut-shaped gland that makes fluid to nourish and transport sperm. Prostate cancer is one of the most common types of cancer in men. It often grows slowly and remains confined to the prostate gland in its early stages. But the cancer may spread if cancer cells break away from the tumor in the prostate and travel to other areas of the body through the lymph system or the bloodstream.

When prostate cancer spreads to the lymph nodes, as in your case, treatment often includes hormone therapy. Radiation therapy or surgery may be necessary in some people, too, depending on an individual’s circumstances.

Hormone therapy stops your body from making the male hormone testosterone or blocks the effects of testosterone on prostate cancer. This is useful, because prostate cancer cells rely on testosterone to help them grow. Cutting off the hormone supply may cause the cancer to shrink or help to slow its growth.

Hormone therapy for prostate cancer often includes taking medication that prevents the testicles from receiving messages to make testosterone. Those medications are called luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone, or LH-RH, agonists and antagonists. Examples of these drugs include leuprolide, goserelin and degarelix.

Other medications that block testosterone from reaching cancer cells may be given along with a luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone agonist or given before taking a luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone agonist. These medications are called anti-androgens. Examples include bicalutamide, enzalutamide, flutamide and nilutamide.

Hormone therapy usually is continued for as long as the treatment works. Over time, prostate cancer may adapt to hormone therapy and begin growing despite treatment. If that happens, your doctor may suggest a different combination of hormone therapy drugs to see if the cancer responds.

Depending on where the cancer has spread, along with other factors, radiation therapy may be combined with hormone therapy to treat prostate cancer that affects the lymph nodes. Radiation therapy uses high-powered beams of energy, such as X-rays or protons, to kill cancer cells.

The kind of radiation used to combat prostate cancer that has spread is called external-beam radiation. It uses a large machine that moves around your body to direct energy beams at the areas affected by cancer. External beam radiation treatments typically are given five days a week for several weeks or more.

In addition to hormone therapy and radiation therapy, in some cases, chemotherapy also may be recommended to treat advanced prostate cancer. Immunotherapy, which uses the body’s immune system to kill cancer cells, also may be useful in certain situations.

Your specific treatment likely will be based on how fast the cancer is growing and how much it has spread, as well as your medical history, overall health and other treatment you’ve received. Your doctor can talk with you in detail about possible treatment options, as well as their risks and benefits. Working together, you and your doctor can create a treatment plan that best fits your needs. J. Fernando Quevedo, M.D., Medical Oncology, Mayo Clinic, Rochester.

Mayo Clinic Q & A is an educational resource and doesnt replace regular medical care. Email a question to MayoClinicQ&A@mayo.edu. For more information, visit http://www.mayoclinic.org.

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Prostate cancer that spreads typically occurs in lymph nodes and bones – Post-Bulletin

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Smelling food linked to weight gain in new study – The Independent

Smelling food before eating it has been linked to weight gain in new research.

In a study using mice, US researchers found that the smell of food could playan important role in how the body processes calories.

To make their findings, researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, used gene therapy to cut off the sense of smell in a group of obese mice.

The scientists found that mice who couldn’t smelllost weight compared to those who could.However, the team were surprised to find that the slimmer mice who were unable tosmell alsoate the same amount of high-calorie food as mice who could. In addition, the mice who were able to smell doubled in weight. Mice with a boosted sense of smell, meanwhile, put on the most weight.

Smelling food could lead the body to store it rather than burn it off, the team believes.

This paper is one of the first studies that really shows if we manipulate olfactory inputs we can actually alter how the brain perceives energy balance, and how the brain regulates energy balance, said Cline Riera, ofCedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

The researchers behindthe study published in the journal Cell Metabolism hope it could help those who develop eating disorders including anorexia due to age, injury or developing diseases such as Parkinsons. It could also help those who struggle to lose weight, they added.

Sensory systems play a role in metabolism. Weight gain isnt purely a measure of the calories taken in; its also related to how those calories are perceived, said senior author Andrew Dillin, the Thomas and Stacey Siebel Distinguished Chair in Stem Cell Research, professor of molecular and cell biology and Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator. If we can validate this in humans, perhaps we can actually make a drug that doesnt interfere with smell but still blocks that metabolic circuitry. That would be amazing.

For that small group of people, you could wipe out their smell for maybe six months and then let the olfactory neurons grow back, after theyve got their metabolic program rewired, Dillin added.

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Smelling food linked to weight gain in new study – The Independent

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Treatment of Scars with Stem Cells :: Stem Cell Skin …

At a Glance

Schedule appointment or Skype information

We know from experience that patients having scars find them particularly unattractive and mentally stressful. Scars form after wounds have finished healing, when deeper skin layers have been injured. Skin injuries can be caused by an accident, a skin disease or burns. So-called pregnancy stretch marks are also scars.

At first, scars will be red due to the large number of blood vessels. The scar tissue then gradually lightens in color, because the amount of collagenous fibers increases over time. From a medical point of view, scar tissue is an inferior kind of tissue and if put under a certain amount of pressure, so-called scar hernias can be a result thereof.

The formation of scars cannot be prevented after the deeper skin layers have been injured. The chances of the scar healing without too many traces increase, if the wound is treated well during the healing process.

If your wound healing process is already completed and scar tissue has formed, further treatment depends on the cause of the injury and type of scarring. In any case, we require your autologous stem cells obtained from your body fat. It is necessary to extract a small amount of your bodys own fat in order to obtain the stem cells. In accordance with your wishes, liposuction is carried out with microcannulas or regular cannulas.

The question as to whether the scars will be treated with stem cells only or if scar tissue has to be removed depends on the scar itself:

Post-surgery care is minimal: Treatment is on an outpatient basis; afterwards, you are fully mobile and normally can go back to work without any restrictions. We will provide you with individual recommendations for your post-treatment care according to the extent and type of area treated and will give you support during the healing process.

Schedule consultation appointment

Last updated: February 24, 2015

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Treatment of Scars with Stem Cells :: Stem Cell Skin …

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Waking Often To Use The Bathroom May Signal Health Issues – Jamestown Post Journal

Frequent trips to the bathroom are keeping someone from sleeping through the night could be a sign of nocturia, which is a common cause of sleep loss, especially among older adults.

Were not talking about waking up once during the night, every few nights, said Dr. Richard Vienne, Univera Healthcare vice president and chief medical officer. Adults suffering from nocturia may awaken with the need to use the bathroom two to six times a night, every night.

Nearly two-thirds (65 percent) of those responding to a National Sleep Foundation poll of adults between the ages of 55 and 84 reported waking to use the bathroom at least a few nights per week. According to the foundation, most adults get seven to nine hours of sleep a night.

Waking two times a night to use the bathroom disrupts sleep patterns which can result in daytime sleepiness, a condition that affects an estimated 20 percent of the population. Persons with excessive daytime sleepiness are at risk of motor vehicle and work-related incidents, and have poorer health than adults who are well-rested.

Frequent trips to the bathroom at night could be a sign of a chronic disease, including heart disease, vascular disorders, diabetes, high blood pressure, restless leg syndrome, Parkinsons disease, multiple sclerosis, or sleep apnea, said Vienne. Nocturia is more common among older adults because their bodies produce less of an anti-diuretic hormone that enables their bodies to retain fluid by producing more urine at night. Another reason for nocturia among the elderly is that the bladder tends to lose holding capacity as we age.

The National Sleep Foundation offers these tips for those with symptoms of nocturia:

Drink a normal amount of liquid, but do so earlier in the day.

Cut down on any drinks in the last two hours before bed, especially alcohol, coffee or tea as these stimulate urine production.

Keep a diary of how much a person drinks, what they drink and when. Such information may be helpful in identifying situations which may make the nocturia worse.

Include in that diary a record of sleep habits as well as any daytime fatigue someone may be experiencing.

Vienne advises anyone experiencing symptoms of nocturia to consult with his or her physician. A doctor can assess for the possible cause of nocturia and order appropriate tests, referrals or treatments.

The Audubon Community Nature Center has received $24,921 to eradicate water chestnut and and reeds from its lands. …

Southwestern High School officials recently released the schools honor and merit rolls for the fourth quarter of …

The descendents of Elder John White, founder of Hartford, Conn., and Giles and Sarah Dodd White will meet Sunday, …

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Waking Often To Use The Bathroom May Signal Health Issues – Jamestown Post Journal

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Who stole my fertility? – Star2.com

According to medical history, during the lifetime of Greek physician Hippocrates in 460-375 BC, a fibroid was known as a uterine stone.

The first surgery for fibroid was done for the late American president Abraham Lincolns cousin in 1809. The term fibroid was introduced in 1860.

Many women are diagnosed with uterine fibroids. For some, the fibroid is not medically impactful, while for others, it can cause infertility.

What is a uterine fibroid?

A womans womb or uterus is made up of muscles known as myometrium. This myometrium is composed of many strands of muscle fibres.

Fibroids arise from genetic alterations in a single muscle fibre. This causes the fibres to overgrow and form a fibroid.

The circulating female hormone called oestrogen can cause growth of the fibroid.

However, fibroids can also grow in a low oestrogen environment, possibly due to conversion of the male hormone called androgen into oestrogen. Yes, women have male hormones too!

Many women may have fibroids without ever realising it. This is because not all fibroids cause symptoms. Whether the fibroid causes a problem or not depends on the size and location of the fibroid.

General problems with fibroids

These can include:

Heavy period flow Generally, a fibroid that is located close to the inner layer of the womb (endometrium), and which distorts or displaces the womb cavity, may cause heavy periods.

If untreated, this can lead to anaemia.

Pelvic pain Larger fibroids (more than 4-5cm) may also cause pain.

Sometimes, the core of the fibroid can become soft, leading to severe pain. This is called red degeneration of the fibroid.

A large fibroid can also lead to compression of the urinary bladder and bowel, which leads to difficulty in passing out urine or faeces.

How does a fibroid affect fertility?

A fibroid can adversely affect fertility through:

Cervical displacement After sexual intercourse, sperm is deposited in the vagina. It will find its way through the neck of the womb (cervix) into the womb. Large fibroids can displace the cervix and reduce womb exposure to sperm.

Interfering with sperm migration The sperm that enter the womb need to swim a long distance to meet the female egg. A fibroid that distorts the womb cavity can interfere with sperm migration.

Obstruction of the Fallopian tube Once the sperm swims through the entire length of the womb, it needs to enter the Fallopian tube. This is where the sperm will finally meet the egg.

A fibroid that is located close to the entrance of the tube can obstruct it.

Interfering with egg uptake after ovulation The egg, on the other hand, once released from the ovary, will be picked up by the Fallopian tube. A fibroid located close to the tube can actually change the anatomical relationship between the ovary and the Fallopian tube. This can interfere with the uptake of the egg into the tube.

Affecting the implantation of the embryo An embryo is formed after a sperm manages to fertilise an egg. The embryo will then have to swim back into the womb cavity.

A fibroid located close to the endometrial lining of the womb can distort the lining, so that when the embryo finally reaches its destination, it may be difficult to get implanted in the womb cavity.

So, even after the embryo is formed successfully, the woman is not pregnant until the embryo implants.

Treatment options

Generally, treatment will depend on the symptoms, size and location of the fibroid.

Options include:

Doing nothing Even if you have been diagnosed to have a fibroid, it does not always mean that you need treatment.

So, do not be surprised if your doctor tells you to just wait and see. Fibroids that are small and do not cause any symptoms can be left alone.

Non-surgical treatment There are several options available.

Fibroid growth is dependent on the female hormones oestrogen and progesterone.

The production of these hormones from the ovary is controlled by Gonadotropin Releasing Hormone (GnRH). A synthetic form of GnRH can be used to stop the production of natural GnRH, which stops the production of oestrogen and fibroid growth.

This medication has been shown to reduce the size of a fibroid by up to 50%.

This is a temporary solution and it comes with side effects. GnRH makes a woman menopausal as long as she uses it. If used for more than six months, it can cause bone loss.

For this reason, the use of GnRH is limited to about six months, or as a preoperative measure to shrink the fibroid prior to surgery.

Ullipristal acetate is an oral tablet that has been used to control heavy menstrual bleeding due to a fibroid. It is as efficacious as GnRH and belongs to a group of medicines known as Selective Progesterone Receptor Modulator (SPRM). However, just like GnRH , it is not used as a long term solution.

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)-guided focused ultrasound is a treatment option where the fibroid is slowly killed by heating it using pulsed ultrasonic waves. This will cause cell death.

It is done with the help of an MRI to help the doctor see the fibroid in 3D.

Throughout the procedure, you are awake but painkillers will be given to keep you relaxed. The procedure generally takes about few hours.

Surgical treatment In the case of surgery, there are also several options available.

Sometimes, a fibroid can be removed vaginally via hysteroscopy (a telescope introduced vaginally into the uterus).

This method is best suited for fibroids that are located within the uterine lining (submucous fibroid).

A hysteroscope is used to see the fibroid under direct vision and the fibroid is cut using electricity. This method is also known as transcervical resection of fibroid.

Large fibroids generally need to be removed via a myomectomy.

The surgeon has two options on how to do the procedure.

The traditional way is called a laparotomy (open surgery), which involves a Caesarean-like abdominal cut.

The fibroid is removed abdominally and the uterine defect is sutured.

Generally, this method is associated with more pain after surgery and a longer recovery time.

Nowadays, more surgeons perform myomectomy laparoscopically.

In this technique, up to four small holes are made on the abdomen and laparoscopic instruments are introduced via the holes to perform the surgery.

Surgeons use a special instrument to cut the fibroids into small pieces before removing it.

For a woman who does not intend to become pregnant, a hysterectomy is sometimes needed, especially with multiple uterine fibroids.

This can be done by the traditional laparotomy or by laparoscopy (key hole) surgery.

However, hysterectomy is a big no-no if you are trying to conceive.

If you have a fibroid and have difficulty conceiving, visit your fertility specialist to determine if the fibroid needs to be removed.

Dr Agilan Arjunan is an obstetrician and gynaecologist, and fertility specialist. For more information, e-mail starhealth@thestar.com.my. The information provided is for educational and communication purposes only and it should not be construed as personal medical advice. Information published in this article is not intended to replace, supplant or augment a consultation with a health professional regarding the readers own medical care. The Star does not give any warranty on accuracy, completeness, functionality, usefulness or other assurances as to the content appearing in this column. The Star disclaims all responsibility for any losses, damage to property or personal injury suffered directly or indirectly from reliance on such information.

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What is cryonics?

Cryonics is an effort to save lives by using temperatures so cold that a person beyond help by today’s medicine might be preserved for decades or centuries until a future medical technology can restore that person to full health. Cryonics is a second chance at life. It is the reasoned belief in the advancement of future medicinal technologies being able to cure things we cant today.

Many biological specimens, including whole insects, many types of human tissue including brain tissue, and human embryos have been cryogenically preserved, stored at liquid nitrogen temperature where all decay ceases, and revived. This leads scientists to believe that the same can be done with whole human bodies, and that any minimal harm can be reversed with future advancements in medicine.

Neurosurgeons often cool patients bodies so they can operate on aneurysms without damaging or rupturing the nearby blood vessels. Human embryos that are frozen in fertility clinics, defrosted, and implanted in a mothers uterus grow into perfectly normal human beings. This method isnt new or groundbreaking- successful cryopreservation of human embryos was first reported in 1983 by Trounson and Mohr with multicellular embryos that had been slow-cooled using dimethyl sulphoxide (DMSO).

And just in Feb. of 2016, there was a cryonics breakthrough when for the first time, scientists vitrified a rabbits brain and, after warming it back up, showed that it was in near perfect condition. This was the first time a cryopreservation was provably able to protect everything associated with learning and memory.

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What is cryonics?

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Dragon Splashes Down to Complete Resupply Mission – Space Daily

SpaceX’s Dragon cargo craft splashed down in the Pacific Ocean at 8:12 a.m. EDT, west of Baja California and the recovery process is underway, marking the end of the company’s eleventh contracted cargo resupply mission to the International Space Station for NASA.

Expedition 52 astronauts Jack Fischer and Peggy Whitson of NASA released the SpaceX Dragon cargo spacecraft from the International Space Station’s robotic arm right on schedule, at 2:41 a.m.

A variety of technological and biological studies are returning in Dragon. The Fruit Fly Lab-02 experiment seeks to better understand the effects of prolonged exposure to microgravity on the heart.

Flies are small, with a well-known genetic make-up, and age rapidly, making them good models for heart function studies. This experiment could significantly advance understanding of how spaceflight affects the cardiovascular system and could help develop countermeasures to help astronauts.

Samples from the Systemic Therapy of NELL-1 for osteoporosis will return as part of an investigation using rodents as models to test a new drug that can both rebuild bone and block further bone loss, improving crew health.

When people and animals spend extended periods of time in space, they experience bone density loss, or osteoporosis. In-flight countermeasures, such as exercise, prevent it from getting worse, but there isn’t a therapy on Earth or in space that can restore bone density.

The results from this ISS National Laboratory-sponsored investigation is built on previous research also supported by the National Institutes for Health and could lead to new drugs for treating bone density loss in millions of people on Earth.

The Cardiac Stem Cells experiment investigated how microgravity affects stem cells and the factors that govern stem cell activity. The study focuses on understanding cardiac stem cell function, which has numerous biomedical and commercial applications. Scientists will also look to apply new knowledge to the design of new stem cell therapies to treat heart disease on Earth.

The Dragon spacecraft launched June 3 on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from historic Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, and arrived at the station June 5.

With the rise of Ad Blockers, and Facebook – our traditional revenue sources via quality network advertising continues to decline. And unlike so many other news sites, we don’t have a paywall – with those annoying usernames and passwords.

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If you find our news sites informative and useful then please consider becoming a regular supporter or for now make a one off contribution.

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Dragon Splashes Down to Complete Resupply Mission – Space Daily

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Dragon splashes down in Pacific with time-critical experiments – SpaceFlight Insider

Derek Richardson

July 3rd, 2017

The CRS-11 Dragon capsule re-enters Earths atmosphere. Photo Credit: Jack Fischer / NASA

SpaceXs CRS-11 Dragon capsule splashed down at 8:12 a.m. EDT (12:12 GMT) on July 3, 2017, in the Pacific Ocean just off the coast of Baja California after some 28 days attached to the International Space Station.

After being unberthed using the robotic Canadarm2, the craft was moved to a location some 33 feet (10 meters) below the Destiny laboratory module. It was officially released at 2:41 a.m. EDT (6:41 GMT) on July 3 by Expedition 52 astronauts Jack Fischer and Peggy Whitson of NASA.

The CRS-11 Dragon capsule is positioned for release beneath the ISS. Photo Credit: Jack Fischer / NASA

Dragons been an incredible spacecraft, Fischer said after release. I could even say it was slathered in awesome sauce. This baby has had almost no problems, which is an incredible feat considering its the first reuse of a Dragon vehicle.

The CRS-11 Dragon capsule pressure vessel was the same one used during the CRS-4 mission in 2014.

And the science weve done oh my, the science, Fischer said. Most of the 6,000 pounds [2,700 kilograms] of cargo carried was science, and almost all of the return cargo are precious samples for discoveries we cant wait to see.

Fischer explained that Dragon also brought up various external experiments too, including an external platform for science, a neutron star analyzer and an experimental solar array that was rolled out like a party horn on New Years Eve.

The science on this mission has been non-stop, and we think the scientists will be extremely happy with the volumes of data we gathered for them up here in space in our floating world-class laboratory we call home, Fischer said. For the whole SpaceX team, thank you for building such a great vehicle and for finding us some good weather today to allow us to bring home the science on time. Godspeed and fair winds, Dragon-11.

The spacecraft had originally been planned to splash down on July 2, but due to a forecast of unacceptable sea conditions at the recovery zone, mission managers decided on June 30 to postpone the capsules departure from the station.

Three separate departure burns were performed by the Dragon capsule once the robotic arm released the spacecraft. This gradually pushed the vehicle away from the outpost and outside the 656-foot (200-meter) Keep-Out Sphere (KOS).

Some five hours later, Dragon, using its Draco thrusters, performed a 10-minute de-orbit burn. Minutes after that, its trunk, which is not recoverable, was jettisoned.

Moments after being released by the ISS crew, the CRS-11 Dragon capsule begins its journey back to Earth. Photo Credit: Jack Fischer / NASA

A few minutes before splashing down, the capsule released drogue chutes to slow the capsule a bit and to keep a specific attitude for the three main parachutes to bedeployed. Once that occurred, along with a successful splashdown, it ensured a successful mission for the first re-flight of a commercial spacecraft to and from the ISS.

Now that Dragon is back on Earth and on a recovery ship, it will now be transported to the port of Los Angeles to offload time-sensitive cargo. The most notable include the Fruit Fly Lab-02 experiment, the Systemic Therapy of NELL-1 for osteoporosis study, and the Cardiac Stem Cells experiment.

The Fruit Fly Lab-02 experiment aims to understand the effects of prolonged microgravity exposure on the heart. According to NASA, because flies are small, have a well-known genetic makeup, and age rapidly, thatmakes them good models for heart function studies.

For the Systemic Therapy of NELL-1 for osteoporosis study, a group of rodents were used as models to test a drug that can rebuild bone and block additional bone density loss. It is hoped that this can help reduce bone density loss for astronauts on extended stays in space. Additionally, it can potentially help people with osteoporosis.

According to NASA, in-flight countermeasures, like exercise, can prevent bone density loss from getting worse, but nothing on Earth or in space can restore bone density.

Finally, the Cardiac Stem Cells experiment aims to analyze how microgravity affects stem cells and factors that govern stem cell activity. NASA says the study focuses on cardiac stem cell functions and has numerous biomedical and commercial applications.

The CRS-11 Dragon was launched June 3 from Kennedy Space Centers Launch Complex 39A in Florida. After a two-day rendezvous profile, the capsule was berthed to the Earth-facing port of the Harmony module on June 5.

The next Dragon mission will be CRS-12 on Aug. 10, 2017. It is unclear if this capsule will also be a pre-flown vessel.

Video courtesy of NASA

Tagged: CRS-11 Dragon Expedition 52 International Space Station Lead Stories NASA SpaceX

Derek Richardson has a degree in mass media, with an emphasis in contemporary journalism, from Washburn University in Topeka, Kansas. While at Washburn, he was the managing editor of the student run newspaper, the Washburn Review. He also has a blog about the International Space Station, called Orbital Velocity. He met with members of the SpaceFlight Insider team during the flight of a United Launch Alliance Atlas V 551 rocket with the MUOS-4 satellite. Richardson joined our team shortly thereafter. His passion for space ignited when he watched Space Shuttle Discovery launch into space Oct. 29, 1998. Today, this fervor has accelerated toward orbit and shows no signs of slowing down. After dabbling in math and engineering courses in college, he soon realized his true calling was communicating to others about space. Since joining SpaceFlight Insider in 2015, Richardson has worked to increase the quality of our content, eventually becoming our managing editor.

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UK’s chief medical officer calls for gene testing revolution in cancer treatment – Daily Nation

Saturday July 8 2017

Kenyans mark World Cancer Day on February 4, 2016 in Eldoret town. Tiny errors in DNA code can lead to cancer and other illnesses. PHOTO | JARED NYATAYA | NATION MEDIA GROUP

A revolution in the search for cancer treatments has been proposed by Englands chief medical officer.

Prof Sally Davies wants gene-testing to be introduced on a routine basis.

I want the National Health Service to be offering genomic medicine, that means diagnosis of our genes, to patients where they can possibly benefit, she said.

GENETIC TESTS Testing, she said, should be standard across cancer care as well as some other areas of medicine, including rare diseases and infections.

Doctors are already using genetic tests to identify and better treat different strains of the infectious disease, tuberculosis.

Humans have about 20,000 genes, bits of DNA code or instructions that control how our bodies work.

Tiny errors in this code can lead to cancer and other illnesses.

Gene-screening can reveal these errors by comparing tumour and normal DNA samples from the patient.

Professor Davies says in about two-thirds of cases, this information can improve their diagnosis and care.

Doctors can tailor treatments to the individual, picking the drugs most likely to be effective.

Currently, genetic testing in England is done at 25 regional laboratories, as well as some other small centres.

Professor Davies wants to centralise the service and set up a national network to ensure equal access to the testing across the country.

She said one hurdle could be doctors themselves, who dont like change.

Patients should persuade them to move from a local to a national service. *** Joe Furness was in Newcastle upon Tyne when he was invited to a party in London.

A three-hour, one-way train trip would cost him 78.50 (Sh10,517) and a plane flight 106, but Joe, aged 21, is a poor student and didnt have much money.

What he did have however was time. So Joe decided to take a detour via Spain.

CAR HIRE Flying from Newcastle to the Spanish island of Menorca cost him 16.00.

There he hired a car for 7.50 and spent the night in it, while sipping a 4.50 cocktail.

Next morning he flew to London for 11.00, joined the party, then grabbed a lift home with a pal afterwards.

Total cost of 39 was a saving of 39.50 on a train journey from Newcastle and 67 on a flight.

Distance travelled was 2,350 miles, against 290 miles from the North to London. *** Bradley Lowery is a six-year-old boy who won the hearts of the nation by campaigning for his beloved Sunderland Football Club and for its top scorer, Jermaine Defoe.

TV film of Defoe holding a smiling Bradley in his arms before a recent game appeared on nationwide television.

What everyone knows, of course, is that Bradley is dying from the childhood cancer neuroblastoma.

A fund-raising campaign raised money for him and will be used for other sick children when Bradley dies.

Now it seems fraudsters have been setting up pages on the internet claiming to be collecting for the boys cause.

His family have warned against them. Please be vigilant, they said in a message on Facebook.

You have to wonder, how low can some people stoop?

*** Some 400 plastic bottles are sold per second in this country and millions end up, along with other garbage, in the worlds oceans.

In fact, scientists calculate that by 2050, the oceans will contain more plastic by weight than fish.

The opposition Labour party is pressing for the introduction of a money-back return scheme, which has been introduced in many other countries and has proved successful in reducing the scale of littering.

You pay a bit extra for your drink but you get it back if you return the bottle, which the drinks company then recycles.

Coca-Cola, among others, is backing the idea. *** Famous one-liners:

Doctors recommend eight glasses of water per day. Why does this seem impossible when eight glasses of beer is so easy? Anonymous.

If you want to know what God thinks of money, look at the people he gave it to. American writer Dorothy Parker.

The two most beautiful words in the English language are Cheque enclosed. Dorothy Parker.

PLAGIARISM I asked God for a bike but I know He doesnt work that way, so I stole a bike and asked for forgiveness. Internet.

I wouldnt say I was the best football manager in the business, but I was in the top one. Brian Clough, British football manager.

To steal ideas from one person is plagiarism; to steal from many is research. Anonymous

England and America are two countries separated by a common language. Irish writer George Bernard Shaw.

If I agreed with you, then we would both be wrong. Internet.

Scene of crime officers camp at CS’s Karen home and Bomas of Kenya.

Interior CS woke up and complained of a sharp chest pain before collapsing in his house.

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UK’s chief medical officer calls for gene testing revolution in cancer treatment – Daily Nation

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David Frost cardiac genetic testing service opens – BBC News – BBC News


BBC News
David Frost cardiac genetic testing service opens – BBC News
BBC News
The service at Belfast City Hospital aims to identify and support those at risk of heart problems.

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Hospital gets cardiac genetic test service created in memory of broadcaster’s son – Belfast Telegraph

Hospital gets cardiac genetic test service created in memory of broadcaster’s son

BelfastTelegraph.co.uk

A genetic testing service to help find those at risk of heart disease has been launched at Belfast City Hospital.

http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/northern-ireland/hospital-gets-cardiac-genetic-test-service-created-in-memory-of-broadcasters-son-35907048.html

http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/northern-ireland/article35907047.ece/dbb20/AUTOCROP/h342/2017-07-08_new_32696180_I1.JPG

A genetic testing service to help find those at risk of heart disease has been launched at Belfast City Hospital.

It was established through the Miles Frost Fund. Miles was the son of late broadcaster Sir David Frost and died from a genetic heart condition called hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) two years ago, aged just 31.

Around 17,500 people in Northern Ireland are living with a faulty gene which puts them at high risk of a heart attack at a young age.

Dr Alison Muir, consultant cardiologist at Belfast City Hospital, said: “When someone dies from an inherited heart condition, not only will their family be faced with the devastating loss of a loved one, they will also face the possibility that they or another family member could be affected with the condition.

“It is important they are referred to the service so we can carry out this cascade testing.

“It can be a frightening prospect so the care of a specialist inherited cardiac conditions nurse is vital to support them through the process.”

HCM causes the muscle wall of the heart to become thickened and can make it more difficult to pump blood around the body.

Miles is believed to have inherited the gene responsible for the condition from his father.

Although Sir David did not die from the condition, his post-mortem examination found the disease was present.

Miles and his brothers, Wilf and George, were not tested at the time, his family said.

In response to Miles’ death, the Frost family and British Heart Foundation set up a fund with the aim to raise 1.5m to set up a national cascade testing service for family members of those who have died of or have been diagnosed with HCM.

Wilf Frost said: “It’s wonderful to be in Belfast to see first-hand the work being funded in Miles’ name and meet the patients who are benefiting from the service.

“When dad died, we were all just in complete shock, and when Miles died it was even worse. To lose someone so young, in the prime of his life, has been and still is hard to take.

“We miss him every day. We’re determined to look forward and help prevent other families from experiencing the heartache we have which is why we’re incredibly proud to roll out this new service.

“If we can prevent just one person suffering the same fate as Miles, then his death will not have been in vain.”

Belfast was the first city in the UK to benefit from the Miles Frost Fund.

British Heart Foundation researchers were among the first to find the faulty genes underlying the deadly heart condition.

Belfast Telegraph

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‘Stem-cell tourism’ needs tighter controls, say medical experts – Washington Post

By Reuters By Reuters July 8 at 8:47 AM

Stem cell tourism in which patients travel to developing countries for unproven and potentially risky therapies should be more tightly regulated, according to a group of international health experts.

With hundreds of medical centers around the world claiming to be able to repair tissue damaged by conditions such as multiple sclerosis and Parkinsons disease, tackling unscrupulous advertising of such procedures is crucial.

These therapies are advertised directly to patients with the promise of a cure, but there is often little or no evidence to show they will help or that they will not cause harm, the 15 experts wrote in the journal Science Translational Medicine.

Some types of stem cell transplant mainly using blood and skin stem cells have been approved by regulators after full clinical trials found they could treat certain types of cancer and grow skin grafts for burn patients.

But many other potential therapies are only in the earliest stages of development and have not been approved by regulators.

Stem cell therapies hold a lot of promise, but we need rigorous clinical trials and regulatory processes to determine whether a proposed treatment is safe, effective and better than existing treatments, said one of the 15, Sarah Chan of Britains University of Edinburgh.

The experts called for global action, led by the World Health Organization, to introduce controls on advertising and to agree on international standards for the manufacture and testing of cell- and tissue-based therapies.

The globalization of health markets and the specific tensions surrounding stem cell research and its applications have made this a difficult challenge, they wrote. However, the stakes are too high not to take a united stance.

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Experts Warn Against Medical Tourism For Unproven Stem Cell Treatments – Huffington Post Australia

Sick people seeking unproven stem cell treatments are putting their lives at risk, experts warn, amid calls to urgently tighten global regulations on the potentially deadly “stem cell tourism treatments”.

Stem cell tourism sees patients buy heavily marketed but largely unproven and potentially dangerous treatments. Some travel overseas and several have died, including a woman in Australia.

Writing in Science Translational Medicine, 15 experts from Australia, the UK, U.S, Canada, Belgium, Italy and Japan say the global marketing of unproven stem cell based treatments is growing in the likes of Japan, Australia and the U.S.

This is despite a lack of clinical evidence and public concern expressed by scientific organisations.

“Moreover, often, providers acknowledge neither this deficit nor the potential harms to patients who receive them,” the paper read.

Contributors included Associate Professor Megan Munsie, a University of Melbourne stem cell scientist and co-author of ‘Stem Cell Tourism and the Political Economy of Hope’ (Palgrave Macmillan), and Professor Jane Kaye, a lawyer holding positions at Melbourne Law School and the University of Oxford.

Munsie said if a patient’s own cells are used, Australia’s industry is “virtually unregulated”.

“We need immediate action in Australia and a coordinated international regulatory effort to curb this exploitative but growing industry.”

Australian authorities issued warnings about unproven stem cell treatments in 2014 after Brisbane mother-of-two Kellie van Meurs died of a heart attack while undergoing the treatment for a rare neurological disorder in Moscow, Russia.

Some countries, such as Italy and Germany, have reportedly taken action against stem cell treatment providers. But the authors say such examples are rare.

“Effective measures for regulating this sector both nationally and internationally are urgently needed,” the paper read.

The authors said stem cell treatments must be fully evaluated and regulated before use. Most countries, however, do not have clear rules or regulations.

“Evidence standards in the context of commercial advertising, market authorisation, and standard of care often vary considerably, as do the enforcement options available to national regulators,” the paper read.

Some treatments using blood and skin stem cells have been rigorously tested and found they could treat certain types of cancer and grow skin grafts for burns patients.

But other potential therapies are only in the earliest stages of development and have not been approved.

“Stem cell therapies hold a lot of promise, but we need rigorous clinical trials and regulatory processes to determine whether a proposed treatment is safe, effective and better than existing treatments,” one of the 15 experts, Sarah Chan of Britain’s University of Edinburgh, told Reuters.

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Cialis and penile size – High blood pressure specialists – Van Wert independent

Submitted information

LIMA Employers in the greater West Central Ohio region will collect $33 million in rebates from the Ohio Bureau of Workers Compensation in checks that will be mailed beginning next week.

BWC Administrator/CEO Sarah Morrison, in Lima to present a ceremonial check to local business leaders, said employers are free to spend their rebates as they wish, but she hopes they will consider investing in workplace safety.

We work with employers all over Ohio to prevent injuries and illness in the workplace, and they will tell you that investing in safety is a wise business decision, said Morrison, speaking at a press conference at the Lima/Allen County Chamber of Commerce. Safe workplaces mean fewer injuries, fewer medical claims and a stable workforce, all of which leads to a healthy bottom line for a business.

Morrison was joined by chamber President/CEO Jed Metzger and Tony Daley of Limas Spallinger Millwright Services Inc. Metzger and Daley accepted the check on behalf of employers in the entire region, which includes Allen, Auglaize, Shelby, Hancock, Putnam, and Van Wert counties.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich proposed the rebate in March. Its the third such rebate in the last four years, made possible by an improving safety climate, prudent fiscal management and strong investment returns. The plan to distribute rebates to more than 200,000 Ohio employers during the month of July was approved by BWCs Board of Directors in April. Visitbwc.ohio.govfor more details and eligibility requirements.

The plan also includes a $44 million investment innew health and safety initiativesto promote a healthy workforce and a culture of safety in every Ohio workplace. This includes a new wellness program for small employers, funding for programs to help firefighters and those who work with children and adults with disabilities, and an education campaign to address common injuries at work and in the home.

A healthy economy depends on a strong and healthy workforce, Morrison continued. And when the economy is healthy, we all benefit.

Rebate checks will be mailed in phases starting July 10.

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Tumor gene testing urged to tell if drug targets your cancer | KRQE … – KRQE News 13

WASHINGTON (AP) Colon cancer. Uterine cancer. Pancreatic cancer. Whatever the tumor, the more gene mutations lurking inside, the better chance your immune system has to fight back.

Thats the premise behind the recent approval of a landmark drug, the first cancer therapy ever cleared based on a tumors genetics instead of the body part it struck first. Now thousands of patients with worsening cancer despite standard treatment can try this immunotherapy as long as genetic testing of the tumor shows theyre a candidate.

Its like having a lottery ticket, said Johns Hopkins oncologist Dr. Dung Le, who helped prove the new use for the immunotherapy Keytruda. Weve got to figure out how to find these patients, because its such a great opportunity for them.

Today, doctors diagnose tumors by where they originate breast cancer in the breast, colon cancer in the colon and use therapies specifically tested for that organ. In contrast, the Food and Drug Administration labeled Keytruda the first tissue-agnostic treatment, for adults and children.

The reason: Seemingly unrelated cancers occasionally carry a common genetic flaw called a mismatch repair defect. Despite small studies, FDA found the evidence convincing that for a subset of patients, that flaw can make solid tumors susceptible to immunotherapy doctors otherwise wouldnt have tried.

We thought these would be the hardest tumors to treat. But its like an Achilles heel, said Hopkins cancer geneticist Bert Vogelstein.

And last month FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb told a Senate subcommittee his agency will simplify drug development for diseases that all have a similar genetic fingerprint even if they have a slightly different clinical expression.

Its too early to know if whats being dubbed precision immunotherapy will have lasting benefits, but heres a look at the science.

WHOS A CANDIDATE?

Hopkins estimates about 4 percent of cancers are mismatch repair-deficient, potentially adding up to 60,000 patients a year. Widely available tests that cost $300 to $600 can tell whos eligible. The FDA said the flaw is more common in colon, endometrial and gastrointestinal cancers but occasionally occurs in a list of others.

Say, have I been tested for this?’ is Les advice for patients.

MUTATIONS AND MORE MUTATIONS

Most tumors bear 50 or so mutations in various genes, Vogelstein said. Melanomas and lung cancers, spurred by sunlight and tobacco smoke, may have twice as many. But tumors with a mismatch repair defect can harbor 1,500 mutations.

Why? When DNA copies itself, sometimes the strands pair up wrong to leave a typo a mismatch. Normally the body spell checks and repairs those typos. Without that proofreading, mutations build up, not necessarily the kind that trigger cancer but bystanders in a growing tumor.

THE PLOT THICKENS

Your immune system could be a potent cancer fighter except that too often, tumors shield themselves. Mercks Keytruda and other so-called checkpoint inhibitors can block one of those shields, allowing immune cells to recognize a tumor as a foreign invader and attack. Until now, those immunotherapies were approved only for a few select cancers Keytruda hit the market for melanoma in 2014 and they work incredibly well for some patients but fail in many others. Learning whos a good candidate is critical for drugs that can cost $150,000 a year and sometimes cause serious side effects.

In 2012, Hopkins doctors testing various immunotherapies found the approach failed in all but one of 20 colon cancer patients. When perplexed oncologists told Vogelstein, a light bulb went off.

Sure enough, the one patient who fared well had a mismatch repair defect and a mind-boggling number of tumor mutations. The more mutations, the greater the chance that at least one produces a foreign-looking protein that is a beacon for immune cells, Vogelstein explained.

It was time to see if other kinds of cancer might respond, too.

WHATS THE DATA?

The strongest study, published in the journal Science, tested 86 such patients with a dozen different cancers, including some who had entered hospice. Half had their tumors at least shrink significantly, and 18 saw their cancer become undetectable.

Its not clear why the other half didnt respond. Researchers found a hint, in three patients, that new mutations might form that could resist treatment.

But after two years of Keytruda infusions, 11 of the complete responders have stopped the drug and remain cancer-free for a median of eight months and counting.

Catherine Katie Rosenbaum, 67, is one of those successes. The retired teacher had her uterus removed when endometrial cancer first struck, but five years later tumors returned, scattered through her pelvis and colon. She tried treatment after treatment until in 2014, her doctor urged the Hopkins study.

Rosenbaum took a train from Richmond, Virginia, to Baltimore for infusions every two weeks and then, after some fatigue and diarrhea side effects, once a month. Then the side effects eased and her tumors started disappearing. A year into the study she was well enough to swim a mile for a Swim Across America cancer fundraiser.

Nothing else had worked, so I guess we could say it was a last hope, said Rosenbaum, who now wants other patients to know about the option.

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Crispr Patent-Holders Move Toward Easing Access to Gene-Editing Technology – Wall Street Journal (subscription)


Wall Street Journal (subscription)
Crispr Patent-Holders Move Toward Easing Access to Gene-Editing Technology
Wall Street Journal (subscription)
A holder of key patents to the Crispr gene-editing technology is willing to join a world-wide joint patent poola development that medical and legal experts think could hasten the development of new human therapies. The Broad Institute of MIT and

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5 ways CRISPR will save your life – Red Bull


Red Bull
5 ways CRISPR will save your life
Red Bull
Past tense, because of Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats, or CRISPR for short. CRISPR works much like a DNA-level pair of scissors and glue stick. It dramatically lowers the bar for biotech innovation, making it 99 percent

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Better than CRISPR? LASSO Cloning ropes in Long-Read DNA – Labiotech.eu (blog)

After CRISPR, theres a new genetic technique with a tongue-in-cheek name in town: LASSO cloning.

Researchersfrom four institutions, including the US-based John Hopkins, Rutgers and Harvard, and the University of Trento in Italy, have developed a new technology tostudy large chunks of DNA and their function. The work behind it was recently published inNature Biomedical Engineering,and a patent was filed earlier this month.

This molecular tool is called long adapter single-stranded oligonucleotide, or LASSO for short. The lasso rope metaphor applies to the tools mechanism, which can capture and clone long sequences of DNA fragments. Fragment length had so far been the main challenge for cloning probes and the genome sequencing field at large. Next generation sequencing (NGS), which has gained a lot of attention in medical research, relies on sequencing short fragments that are then put together, like a puzzle, by bioinformatics tools. However, this method falls short for certain types of samples. Short reads capture only about 100 basepairs, or DNA letters, at a time, while LASSO can read more than1000 base pairs.

As a proof of concept, the researchers set out to test LASSO probes in biotechs favorite microorganism,E. coli. The tool managed to simultaneously clone over 3000 DNA fragments of the genome ofE. coli, capturing around 75% of the targets and leaving almost all of the non-targeted DNA alone, and the studys authors say theres still certainly room for improvement.

LASSO cloning should enable the scientific community to build libraries of a given organisms protein in a much faster and cheaper way, democratizing research that was so far only within the reach of big research consortia. The usefulness of such studies ranges from a better understanding of organisms to the ability to screen large libraries of natural enzymes and compounds that could be valuable leads in drug discovery,as it has been done before for some species likePenicilliumfungistrains, for example.

One of the organisms to be better studied is, of course, human beings. Researchers already tested LASSO cloning with human DNA, something has the potential to yield new biomarkers for a range of diseases. Another focus of interest is the human microbiome. As described in the same paper, LASSO was used to build the first protein library of the microbiome, and the research team hopes that it can improve precision medicine strategies that takeinto account the microbes living within us.

Images by DWilliam/Pixabay and Jennifer E. Fairman/John Hopkins University

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Sharks could hold genetic secret to long life: Study – The Hindu


The Hindu
Sharks could hold genetic secret to long life: Study
The Hindu
The oldest and largest (502 centimetres female) Greenland shark analysed by the scientists were 392 years, plus or minus 120 years: in other words they were at least 272 years old. The study of the shark's DNA has shed new light on its behaviour, and

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How the living world was changed, by the woman who changed it – New Scientist

CRISPR has ruffled feathers, but it may be capable of saving species

Frans Lanting/National Geographic Creative

By Adam Rutherford

KAKAPOS are fat New Zealand ground parrots that have stared into the abyss of extinction for decades. Conservationists have laboured to raise numbers from the moribund low 50s to a still ultra-critical 160 or so today.

Once a species becomes so depleted, however, a lack of genetic diversity can hinder its long-term salvation. A geneticist once told me of a crazy idea that might save the kakapo. He said that there are more stuffed kakapos in European museums than there are living birds. If we could extract DNA from those dead parrots, from a time when their numbers were large, we could genetically engineer the living birds to mimic the once healthy species by changing single letters of genetic code.

There are a lot of ifs here, but the modification of DNA itself even at the level of precision this mad scheme would require is eminently possible, thanks to a technology known by the acronym CRISPR. Ten years ago, identifying, characterising and modifying a gene then getting it back into an organism was a process that took weeks, months or years. With CRISPR you can perform the same process in days.

Incredibly, it looks as though CRISPR will live up to its hype, transforming every aspect of biology as genetic engineering did from the 1970s on. Tweaking individual letters of genetic code, it takes just hours to finely edit what evolution fashioned over billions of years. All aspects of the science of life are within CRISPRs reach: disease, conservation, synthetic cellular manufacture.

CRISPRs complex origins as a gene editing tool can reasonably be credited to a few key players: Jennifer Doudna is one of them. With her former colleague Samuel Sternberg, she has written a detailed account of the story so far. It may well end up being compared with the book that inspired a 12-year old Doudna in the first place: James Watsons The Double Helix.

But while Watsons iconic account of his and Francis Cricks discovery of the structure of DNA is dramatic and myth-making, bitchy and sexist, A Crack in Creation is thoughtful and thorough. Packed with amazing female scientists, it is thrilling, generous and no less personal. Its a good tale of how science works, tracing all the meandering paths that lead to discovery: meetings, chance encounters, ceaseless discussions, and the endless beavering of lab life.

Concern about genetically modifying people may once have seemed overheated. Thats about to change

A Crack in Creation is quite technical at times, and a touch bogged down with the clinical specifics of the many diseases that CRISPR may one day fix. The journey from the days of gene therapy to the first human CRISPR studies in China is no amble, either. Following these early Chinese studies, Doudna recommended an instant moratorium on human CRISPR experimentation. Similar moratoriums were called for in the first days of genetic engineering in the 1970s, and in recent years, following the experimental modification of virulent flu viruses.

Public concern about the genetic modification of people may have seemed overheated while we lacked the scientific chops to do anything significant. But that is about to change: CRISPR is powerful and potentially scary. Doudnas own ethical position comes into focus in the final chapter. Its a nuanced account, but she definitely inclines towards excising conditions like cystic fibrosis and Huntingtons disease from the human germ line.

A Crack in Creation touches the surface of these issues. It doesnt delve deep, but one book cannot do everything. Genetics has been in perpetual revolution for several decades now. Since the 1990s, when the Human Genome Project ground into action, there have been so many advances in our understanding of genetics and our ability to manipulate DNA that its hard to keep up. Doudna accounts for the many cracks in creation in the 21st century: developing RNAi, where genes can be silenced with tiny bits of ingested genetic code; the building of giant chromosomes to help us clone larger genes; and the manipulation of stem cells. All of these achievements resulted in Nobel prizes Doudnas must surely come soon.

We need scientifically informed public conversations about what we should do next with these powers, and Doudnas book is a good place to begin. The first gene engineers of the 1970s framed their discoveries by actively engaging with the ethical, legal and political ramifications of genetic engineering. So must we. As I write this, says Doudna, the world around us is being revolutionized by CRISPR, whether were ready for it or not. So strap in and get up to speed, because these days, the science of modifying life moves pretty fast.

This article appeared in print under the headline This changes everything

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Geneticist says Florida panther still deserves endangered species protection – Tampabay.com

As federal wildlife officials review the endangered status of the Florida panther, one scientist’s work has been singled out as a focus: geneticist Melanie Culver.

In 2000, Culver and three fellow scientists published a study of the genetics of big cats that concluded that all the panthers, pumas and mountain lions in North America are actually a single sub-species.

In other words, according to the Culver study, Florida panthers are nothing special, genetically. They’re just another big cat in a nation that contains thousands of them, some of which are already hunted. If the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service adopts that point of view, it could lead to taking panthers off the endangered list.

But Culver, in an interview, said she believes the Florida panther still belongs on the endangered list — just not the way it’s listed now. The U.S. Geological Survey scientist concedes that making a change would require a complex solution.

“You’d have to de-list it and then petition it to be listed as another entity,” she said. “That’s a legal problem. They’d have to completely lose legal protection to be protected the right way.”

Florida panthers have been listed as endangered ever since the first endangered species list was drawn up in 1967. They are also Florida’s official state animal, voted in by schoolchildren over such other contenders as the alligator and the mosquito.

They have long been considered a distinct sub-species of the puma that roam wilderness areas of North and South America. At one time, scientists believed there were about 30 such sub-species.

Federal rules require the agency to review the status of each endangered or threatened species every five years, and the wildlife agency has announced that it’s time for that routine review. But one aspect of the review won’t be routine.

“One of the most interesting things we’re going to review is the taxonomy,” said Larry Williams, South Florida field supervisor for the federal agency. He specifically cited the Culver-led study as something that the agency will consider.

Questions have been raised for years about whether the Florida panther is really a distinct sub-species of the pumas found out West. The questions took a different turn after 1995, when state officials tried an unprecedented experiment to save the panther from inbreeding and genetic defects by bringing in eight female mountain lions from Texas to breed with them.

The cross-breeding saved the panthers, and sparked a baby boom. The panther population, estimated to number no more than 20 to 30 in the mid-1990s, now is estimated at around 200.

But it has raised questions among Southwest Florida residents about whether those are still Florida panthers and whether the state’s estimates of the population are correct. Meanwhile some have cited the Culver study as an argument for eliminating their endangered status.

“There are tens of thousands of them throughout North America, they are overpopulated and legally hunted throughout much of their range,” outdoorsman Mike Elfenbein of Port Charlotte, who helps run the “Panthers of South Florida” Facebook page, wrote in a 2015 letter to U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Sarasota. “The ‘Florida panther’ is not now, nor was it ever in danger of going extinct.”

But not everyone agrees wholeheartedly with the Culver study. Dave Onorato, a biologist with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s panther study program, said one shortcoming is that the study used a small number of samples for the panthers.

He noted that when the state has done its own DNA tests, using an approach different from Culvers, “the panthers still cluster as their own sub-set, away from the Texas and Western sub-sets.”

Elizabeth Fleming of the Defenders of Wildlife’s Florida office contends that without a scientific consensus backing the Culver study’s findings, the Fish and Wildlife Service should not change the panther’s status.

“It is a native ranging animal, and we think it deserves a place in the Florida landscape,” she said.

To Culver, though, the problem is that the panther should not have been put on the endangered list as a sub-species of puma. Instead, she said, panthers belong on the list as what’s known as a “distinct population segment” of the puma.

In other words, the fact that this population of panthers is the only colony of pumas east of the Mississippi, and it’s largely confined to the southern tip of Florida, still qualifies them as endangered, in her view.

While 200 panthers is an improvement, she said, it “isn’t what we would consider sustainable. That’s not great.” Over time, genetic defects would creep back in, putting them back on the road to extinction, she said.

Whether the Fish and Wildlife Service follows Culver’s advice is unknown. Williams wouldn’t speculate on the outcome of his agency’s review this week, except to say it would follow the latest scientific findings.

Four months ago the agency announced it was lowering the protection level of another famous Florida critter, the manatee, from endangered to threatened — despite the objections of a majority of the public that commented on the move, as well as the scientists who had been asked to review it.

Senior news researcher Caryn Baird contributed to this story. Contact Craig Pittman at craig@tampabay.com. Follow @craigtimes.

Geneticist says Florida panther still deserves endangered species protection 07/08/17 [Last modified: Friday, July 7, 2017 4:15pm] Photo reprints | Article reprints

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Why does it seem like nobody cares about female concussions? – ESPN

ESPN senior writer Peter Keating joins OTL to share his findings on concussions in female athletes, featured in ESPN The Magazine and on espnW.com.

This story appears in ESPN The Magazine’s Body Issue 2017. Subscribe today!

EVERY FOUR YEARS or so, some of the world’s most prominent scientists gather to synthesize and summarize the latest in brain-injury research. Since first meeting in 2001, the assemblage, called the Concussion in Sport Group, has grown in size and influence. Doctors, athletic trainers and media types around the world take their cues from the recommendations it publishes and from the Sport Concussion Assessment Tool (SCAT) it has developed. When members gathered in Berlin last October, Jiri Dvorak, then FIFA’s chief medical officer, said they worked on behalf of some 1billion professional and amateur athletes. For that 2016 symposium, around 400 medical and sports professionals met in the Grand Ballroom of the Ritz-Carlton hotel, with art nouveau stylings that hark back to the days before the world wars and trappings so posh that guests enjoy breakfast honey harvested from a rooftop beehive. Over two days, a stone’s throw from where the Berlin Wall used to stand, the leading lights of the sports neuro-establishment made clear their role as gatekeepers of concussion research. Organizers closed the conclave to the media and swatted audience members off social media.

There was another group almost entirely shut out of the 5th International Consensus Conference on Concussion in Sport: female athletes.

Of the dozen sessions at the conference, not one was dedicated to sex or gender. Researchers made 24 oral presentations during the meetings; one focused on female athletes. Among the 202 research abstracts, nine, or less than 5 percent, studied women specifically. “Gender hasn’t been a hot, hot topic,” says one member of the Concussion in Sport Group.

Hot or not, the facts the conference could have displayed are shocking. Women suffer more concussions than men in the sports that both play, with an injury rate 50 percent higher, according to the most recent research. Female athletes with brain trauma tend to suffer different symptoms, take longer to recover and hold back information about their injuries for different reasons than males. Anyone involved in sports should have a grasp of these key facts. Yet the leading national and international guidelines for understanding sports concussions and returning injured athletes to play ignore key differences in how women and men experience brain injuries.

Here’s what’s even more stunning: All of that information was public knowledge eight years ago, when ESPN The Magazine first looked at the subject of concussions and female athletes (“Heading for Trouble,” March 23, 2009)-and all of it is still true. The latest studies continue to find that women get brain injuries more often in sports also played by men. But research into why and how is lagging to nonexistent, as are efforts to reverse the trend. Which means millions of female athletes are putting their brains at risk unnecessarily.

“More and more of the athletes I have seen over time are young women, and I’ve found they get less information about concussion from their coaches, and from the media too, than men,” says Jill Brooks, a clinical neuropsychologist who runs Head to Head Consultants in Gladstone, New Jersey, and who in 2004 conducted one of the earliest research reviews of sex issues in brain injury. “They are struggling to deal with their particular symptoms and often not being taken as seriously as they should be. The sports world is much more accepting of girls and women as athletes but still gives the topic of their concussions short shrift.”

FEMALE SPORTS SCIENTISTS pioneered the initial research into sex, gender and concussions more than a decade ago. Dawn Comstock, a professor of epidemiology at the Colorado School of Public Health and a 4-foot-11 former rugby player, started tracking injuries among high school athletes in 2004 and began reporting sex differences in brain injury in 2007. In May 2016, she told the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations: “In gender-comparable sports, so sports that both boys and girls play, by the same rules, using the same equipment, on the same fields, like soccer and basketball, girls have higher concussion rates than boys.” Tracey Covassin, professor of kinesiology at Michigan State and a certified athletic trainer, has been studying college sports since 2003, with similar results.

But when it comes to looking deeper into the experience of concussions among female athletes specifically, researchers for the most part have been uninterested, unwilling or unfunded. The frontier of knowledge has been stuck for years in epidemiology-studies, again and again, of who encounters a health problem in the general population and when, rather than how and why it strikes a particular group. “There’s a huge gap in the science of brain injury,” says Angela Colantonio, director of the Rehabilitation Sciences Institute at the University of Toronto. “There has been a lack of explicit consideration given to sex and gender. We’re just starting to scratch the surface.”

A major problem with concussion research is that very few people conduct it who don’t have a stake in its outcome. I think these folks didn’t want to see their names used in lawsuits.

Katherine Snedaker, clinical social worker

In the 2017 Consensus Statement on Concussion in Sport, which 36 of the scientists who met in Berlin published in April, and which runs more than 7,000 words, “gender” never appears and “sex” only once. It’s just one item on a laundry list of factors, such as age, genetics and mental health, that the document notes “numerous studies have examined” for their potential impact on how athletes heal from concussions. The consensus statement doesn’t actually evaluate what such research has discovered about the effects of sex or gender, except to say there’s “some evidence” that teenagers “might be” most vulnerable to persistent symptoms, “with greater risk for girls than boys.”

Several Europe-based contact-sport federations fund the meetings of the Concussion in Sport Group. FIFA, the International Federation for Equestrian Sports, the International Ice Hockey Federation, the International Olympic Committee and World Rugby split the costs of the Berlin conference, totaling approximately 250,000 euros (about $284,000), according to two sources at the group. Any of those organizations could be threatened if evidence emerges that it should have managed repetitive blows to the head better among particular kinds of athletes, such as adolescents or repeat concussion victims-or females. And the 30 co-authors of the consensus statement who filed conflict of interest disclosures declared 132 potential entanglements among them. All of which has some brain-injury research advocates concerned that the authors might have hedged their conclusions to avoid exposing their patrons to financial or legal liability. “The statement is extremely disappointing,” says Katherine Snedaker, a clinical social worker in Norwalk, Connecticut, and founder of the research and advocacy group Pink Concussions, who attended the Berlin conference. “But a major problem with concussion research is that very few people conduct it who don’t have a stake in its outcome. I think these folks didn’t want to see their names used in lawsuits.”

Even one of the consensus statement’s co-authors echoes this criticism. “A lot of intelligent brains have been added to the committee,” says Robert Cantu, professor of neurosurgery at Boston University and a founding member of the Concussion in Sport Group. “But I think some are so happy to be part of all this, sometimes they don’t look hard enough at the research. And you’ve got to ask if that serves as a huge protective force for the organizations who put up the money to fund the meetings.”

“We reviewed the literature on clinical recovery from concussion,” says Grant Iverson, a professor of physical medicine and rehabilitation at Harvard Medical School and co-author of the consensus statement. “We examined many predictors and modifiers. Sex was one of them.”

But when it comes to women specifically, the group has a particularly egregious history. Its third consensus statement, published after parleys in Zurich in 2008, included two ambiguous sentences about whether sex or gender influences the likelihood or severity of concussion risk. Four years later, again after meetings in Zurich, the fourth consensus statement also devoted two sentences to females-the same two sentences. Those sentences even cited the same three sources. From 2008 to 2012, women’s participation in sports grew rapidly, rising 13 percent in the NCAA alone. Public interest in concussions also exploded, as the NFL crisis reached full tilt. And during those years, about 300,000 females aged 19 or under went to U.S. emergency rooms with sports- or recreation-related brain injuries. Yet the international consensus found nothing new to learn or say.

“The topics we focus on, we go into pretty thoroughly,” says one researcher in the group. “Other material, we pretty much don’t touch at all. Which is how stuff slides from one year to the next, not only unchanged but not updated.”

“It was a cut-and-paste job, down to the footnotes,” says neuropsychologist Brooks, who attended two earlier international consensus conferences but was not invited to Berlin.

Andy Mead/YCJ/Icon Sportswire

Facing pressure, US Lacrosse recently adopted standards for women’s headgear, but there’s little research to inform guidelines.

MOST ATHLETES AND fans have learned about concussions from a decade of reports about former NFL players struggling with the long-term effects of taking blows to the head. As devastating as many of those stories are, the risks of brain injury can get worse the further competition moves from the epicenter of high-stakes sports that is professional football. Lower revenues and remote facilities can translate to poorer medical advice and treatment; scarcer media coverage sometimes means fewer people notice injuries in the first place. And these conditions often apply to women’s collegiate sports, where some 214,000 female athletes compete under the regulatory umbrella of the NCAA. DivisionII women’s soccer, for example, which Angel Mitchel played at Ouachita Baptist University in Arkansas.

Mitchel took to soccer from the age of 4, playing with her two older brothers in Mansfield, Texas, and dreaming of a pro career. “I would do whatever it took to play,” she says. “Soccer was my life.”

That all changed on Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2011, when Mitchel, then a sophomore at OBU and known by her unmarried name, Palacios, collided with a teammate while going for a header during a practice drill. The other player’s skull crashed into Mitchel’s face, knocking her dizzy and sending her to her knees. With her left eye already swelling shut, she lurched to the sideline, where she told her athletic trainer she felt sick. She had already suffered two concussions in high school.

The trainer asked whether Mitchel was dizzy. Was she nauseated? Did she have a headache?

“Yes … yes … yes,” Mitchel replied.

She says the trainer sent her back to her dorm room with an ice pack. Nobody told Mitchel to see a doctor or checked on her that night. The team gave her an online neuropsychological test the next day, but the results weren’t clear because she still couldn’t use her left eye. Woozy, sensitive to light and stabbed by migraines, she stayed out of sight as much as she could for the rest of the week.

On Saturday, Mitchel says, her coach instructed her to run laps. She was still sick-she had thrown up earlier that day-and appealed to the trainer, who she says told her: “You don’t want to make the coach mad.”

I knew I wasn’t right, and what was happening was wrong.

Angel Mitchel, soccer player

As Mitchel broke into a trot, the sun burned into her head, vomit swelled again from her guts and pain wracked her whole being every time her feet hit the ground. The intensity and folly of her pain fused into anger. “I knew I wasn’t right, and what was happening was wrong,” she says.

After a lap around the field, Mitchel stopped and decided she needed to go to an emergency room. Mitchel says that, after that, her coach said she could skip the rest of practice. In fact, he said, she should expect to sit out for a long time.

Doctors found that Mitchel had a severe concussion. She already had recall problems and diminished sensations in the left side of her body. And if she kept engaging in physical activity, she could permanently damage her brain.

Mitchel had a black eye for three months. Her migraines persisted for three years. She never played soccer again. Officials from OBU declined to comment.

Mitchel’s experience is an extreme version of what many women experience after sports concussions: isolation, inadequate attention, improper clearance, intimidation. The NCAA for its part has been very late to respond to these issues. It didn’t have any guidelines covering brain injury at all until 2010. It required schools to have personnel trained to handle concussions at contact-sports games only because of a massive settlement it reached in 2014. Mitchel, now 24, is justifiably proud of joining the legal action that led to that deal; “I know we have a long way to go,” she says, “but it’s a great start.”

Yet the NCAA doesn’t actually enforce how its members implement its new rules. It has never disciplined a school for failing to file a concussion plan or for maintaining inadequate personnel or for returning an injured player to the field. There’s still no mention of sex or gender in its best practices for diagnosing and managing concussions or in the concussion fact sheets it distributes to students and coaches.

Maybe the best indication of the NCAA’s priorities is simply this: Its chief medical officer has a staff of seven to address college-age health and safety issues from mental health to sexual assault. Meanwhile, its compliance desk has more than 50 employees who police amateurism among athletes.

For all that, Brian Hainline, the chief medical officer of the NCAA, says he has “fire in his eyes” about concussions, and he emphasizes that brain trauma in sports is an issue “much bigger than football.” Indeed, in a column on the NCAA’s website, he wrote: “We need to spread the word: Yes, female athletes also suffer with concussion, and they may be uniquely predisposed to this neurological event.”

It’s true that Hainline was close enough to Elliot Pellman, the notorious former chairman of the NFL concussions committee, for Pellman to blurb a book on back pain that Hainline published in 2007. And that in Hainline’s early days on the job at the NCAA, it seemed as if he too might simply make excuses for how sports programs were treating athletes with brain injuries.

But Hainline has a touch of the seeker about him, and he has taken to his role as college sports’ concussion-education booster-in-chief. His efforts helped create the Grand Alliance, a $30 million project the NCAA and Department of Defense launched in 2014 to study brain injury in student-athletes and cadets and promote concussion education. Over the past three years, the initiative has enrolled more than 28,000 subjects; 1,931 had concussions, and scientists are examining their brains and bodies over time. It’s a highly regarded effort, and Hainline is enthusiastic about working with respected partners to assert leadership in brain-injury research. “We all need to take a step back and stop saying nothing is happening,” he says. “Cooperation I never dreamed could happen is happening right now. Concussion has brought us to this place of magic.”

But while about 35 percent of the athletes involved with Grand Alliance research are female-the largest cohort of women with concussions ever studied-the effort probably won’t report anything new that’s sex-specific for years, if ever. To see why, it helps to understand why women and men might experience concussions in different ways.

Scientists have known for a long time that women are more open than men about reporting injuries. Recent research shows they don’t just describe more symptoms after concussions, they exhibit more too. An important example comes from Shannon Bauman, a sports physician who began studying brain injury after she got inadequate attention for a concussion she suffered playing hockey. From 2014 to 2016, Bauman tracked 207 injured athletes at Concussion North, the specialty clinic she runs in Barrie, Ontario. She found women averaged 4.5 objective signs of concussion, such as poor balance or vision, versus 3.6 for men. They also took longer to recover; 35 percent of females still showed symptoms six months after their injuries.

“Maybe the reason we talk more about our symptoms isn’t because we’re weak or vulnerable,” says Snedaker, a former athlete who went through more than a dozen concussions of her own before becoming an advocate. “Maybe it’s because we have more symptoms and they last longer.”

Biomechanics might be one reason for that. On average, women have shorter and thinner necks than men and approximately 50 percent less neck strength. In general, that means females have less of a buffer against anything their heads might slam, whether it’s a ball, another player’s elbow or the ground. Their skulls experience greater acceleration when their bodies whiplash-and it’s that motion that jars a brain and leads to a concussion, like scrambling a yolk without necessarily cracking an egg.

Further, different chemicals naturally course through the bodies of men and women. As a basic example, research has shown that fluctuating levels of estrogen leave women far more susceptible to migraines than men, and migraines and concussions seem to cause similar problems inside the brain. It also turns out that, until puberty (when sex hormones start flowing), young boys and girls get concussions at comparable rates and share similar symptoms. Some neuroscientists have wondered about the effects of sex-specific hormones that either stress or shield the brain when it’s concussed.

In a series of groundbreaking studies that started 25 years ago, Robin Roof, then a researcher at Rutgers, found that progesterone, a female sex hormone, reduced brain swelling and improved cognitive function after injuries in rats. The implications were huge: Maybe progesterone could mitigate the impact of brain injury. But the subject wasn’t studied much again until 2013, when a team from the University of Rochester recorded data on the menstrual cycles of women who went to emergency rooms with concussions. It found that females who were injured at a point in their cycles when their progesterone levels should have been high suffered more symptoms afterward. “That’s counterintuitive, because in animal studies, progesterone has a neuroprotective effect,” says Jeffrey Bazarian, one of the Rochester researchers. “But concussion might disrupt its production, shut it off and lead to an abrupt decrease in the blood.”

That’s an interesting theory, but it’s speculative. Hormones interact with one another in complex ways. And large-scale clinical trials of progesterone on brain-trauma victims have failed to show any significant benefit. So Bazarian is left with a nagging question: “How can there be such a discrepancy between rodents doing so well with progesterone and what we’ve seen so far in humans?”

“We can look at reporting, and we can look at neck strength,” Brooks says. “But we have got to get to how the brain works in men and in women, which means studying how hormones affect its function.”

That, however, is not a subject the NCAA is pursuing in its research. Its Grand Alliance with the Defense Department is on its way to amassing more than 25 million data points from athletes, information that an “advanced research core” will study with sophisticated neuroimaging devices and comb for biomarkers, or substances in the blood that indicate brain injury. But it will not collect statistics on where female athletes are in their monthly cycles, nor will it analyze blood samples for sex hormones. Those are “interesting and important questions,” says Steven Broglio, a professor of kinesiology at the University of Michigan and one of the scientists leading the Grand Alliance’s research. “[But] no study can address every concern. Hopefully, future research will take on this challenge.”

“I understand you have to pick the low-lying fruit first, but five years from now, it’s going to be too late to go back and get this data,” Snedaker says. “If you’re not going to look at what makes us different, then don’t put us in the studies.”

BEHIND CLOSED DOORS, some women’s sports advocates aren’t comfortable looking for differences between male and female injuries. Treating male and female athletes differently could revert to stereotypes that women have been fighting for decades-that they aren’t up to the challenges of sports or need special pleading or are simply weaker than men.

But medical science has a long history of judging females by male standards, all too often with terrible results. Medical schools typically use men’s bodies to teach students about disease, and doctors are more likely to miss or wrongly diagnose symptoms among female patients. The classic example is a heart attack: Women are more likely to feel as if they have the flu than to experience chest pain. And medical research historically has used male subjects to study treatments, producing findings on everything from aspirin to Ambien that didn’t apply accurately to women.

Brain injury, then, is one of many examples where even studies that include women almost never come to separate conclusions about them. In 2016, the Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation reviewed the scientific literature on concussion since 1980. It found that of 221 published papers, just 7 percent of them broke out their data by sex. “Brain science follows society,” Brooks says. “Men are making a lot of the decisions about women’s health. I’ve had to conclude that instead of making change from the top down, I have to try from the bottom up, helping one patient at a time [as they] become healthy, informed, strong women.”

Sports concussions are an acute case because so much attention and funding has followed pro football. Most obviously, while the NFL’s concussion studies have been riddled with junk science and conflicts of interest, the league has helped tilt research toward helmeted sports. Last September it pledged $60 million toward developing new concussion technology, possibly including a new helmet, and $40 million for researching head injuries. And now the NCAA and the DOD are entering the field.

Naturally enough, parents around the country, many concerned about long-term brain damage and CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy), have started to demand greater protection for their daughters-even when science isn’t ready to tell them just what to ask for. For example, U.S. Lacrosse, facing pressure from alarmed advocates, parents and state legislators, recently adopted its first standards for women’s headgear. It’s still optional, but helmets must now meet new guidelines-even though the federation doesn’t actually have any evidence that the new equipment will reduce concussions. “This is a national experiment,” says Andy Lincoln, who conducts research for U.S. Lacrosse. “There is a need for more information on head impacts and exposures in women’s and girls sports.”

Yes, there is. So what happens next, as public opinion, and soon enough, lawyers, politicians and salesmen, fill the vacuum left by the institutions that govern women’s sports and the scientists they sponsor?

“I’m very concerned,” Hainline says.

Originally posted here:
Why does it seem like nobody cares about female concussions? – ESPN

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How High-Cholesterol Foods Can Ruin Your Sex Life – AlterNet

Photo Credit: Lightspring/Shutterstock

Two of possibly the greatest joys in life are food and sex. You can enjoy both separately or together, by yourself or with a partner (or group) and in general, each tends to complement the other rather well. That is, until one day they dont. The reason? Put simply, it comes down to that dreaded C-word.

Cholesterol: adversary to your arteries, the harbinger of heart-attacks, and you may be surprised to learn, an eradicator of erections. Before we get to that, though, lets start with what this accursed stuff actually is.

Cholesterol, explains Boston Medical Group, is a waxy, fat-like substance that travels around the body in blood particles called lipoproteins. There are two versions of cholesterol, the good kind and the bad. The first one, known as HDL, travels in the blood directly to the liver where it is broken down and used by the body. The bad one, LDL, travels through our arteries leaving a trail of plaque that damages, and ultimately blocks blood flow. This condition is called atherosclerosis, and is a precursor to heart attacks, strokes and, yep, you guessed it, erectile dysfunction.

An excess of cholesterol can lead to a complete blockage of the coronary artery, which will trigger a heart attack. Too much bad cholesterol (also known as LDL) in the bloodstream creates arterial plaque that damages and blocks blood flow. These blockages will result in inadequate circulation of blood throughout the body, which includes your nether regions.

So, what exactly does that imply for your sex life? Time for a little human biology lesson.

During the act of sexual stimulation, Boston Medical Group explains, the body releases chemicals that cause the penile arteries (corpora cavernosa) to relax. Basically, in the heat of the moment, your arteries relax allowing for better blood flow and, of course, the more visible physical attributes associated with having an erection.

By now you should be starting to connect the dots. The long and the, er, short of it is that reduced blood flow caused by the high presence of LDL cholesterol is directly linked to sexual disorders such as erectile dysfunction.

Dr. Michael Krychman, the executive director of the Southern California Center for Sexual Health and Survivorship, told Fox News that “as soon as a man presents with erectile dysfunction, we begin measuring cholesterol and blood pressure.” Krychman added that furthermore, the same mechanisms through which men may suffer from sexual disorders caused by high cholesterol, hold similar effects for women.

“In the past we used to think if a woman is having sexual problems, shes frigid, and she needs to go home and have a glass of wine and relax,” Krychman said. “However, there is emerging data associating underlying medical causes with female sexual dysfunction.” In the case of women, Krychman explained, the fatty deposits caused by high cholesterol affects lubrication and libido.

Beyond blockages, LDL cholesterol also inhibits the production of nitric oxide, the artery-relaxing hormone required to produce an erection. LDL does this by reducing the arterys response to the hormone, which in turn decreases blood flow. And thats not the only hormone affected by high cholesterol. Production of testosteronewhich helps stimulate sexual drive in menis also limited by high cholesterol-caused lowered blood flow to the testicles, where the hormone is produced.

Now that weve covered the problem, lets look at ways to go about finding the solution. For starters, Krychman said, if you believe your high cholesterol is affecting your sex life you should consult a physician. In an article on Healthcentral, the author reiterates Krychmans point noting that men who develop erectile dysfunction without an obvious cause, such as from medication or physical injury, may have a 25% increased risk of cardiovascular disease over the next 5 years.

There are generally three basic ways to go about combating high cholesterol: diet, exercise, and medication.

In terms of diet, most physicians will generally suggest cutting out saturated fats. This Alternet article, for instance, suggests nine ways you can increase the presence of good cholesterol (HDL) in your diet. By enjoying a low carb diet, avoiding trans fats, and doing regular exercise, explains the author, a person can greatly reduce their risk of heart disease, and in turn, reduce the effects that cause erectile dysfunction. For more diet tips, heres a list of 14 other foods that help with circulation.

This 2013 study, published in the journal Medline, looked at erectile function in relation to mens weight loss. Drawing on data from 145 sexually active overweight/obese men, the study found that dysfunction level improved with a small weight loss – even for men who did not have clinical dysfunction, co-author Clare Collins, a professor of nutrition and dietetics at the University of Newcastle, told Alternet via email. The study further found that overweight men were more likely to suffer from erectile dysfunction.

The main message is that improving your eating habits so that you drop a small amount of weight can improve your sex life, said Collins, adding the important reminder: talk to your doctor if youre experiencing erectile dysfunction.

The main reason for this last bit of advice comes down to medication. Suzy Cohen, a pharmacist writing for Lifescript, points out that high cholesterol and erectile dysfunctionwhich are often experienced togetherremain two separate conditions requiring different treatment. If you have ED, Cohen notes, assume (until proven otherwise) that you have mild heart disease or pre-diabetes. As such, she continues, simply taking lipid lowering medications that bring down your cholesterol levels may still hold negative effects for erectile function, due to a lack of hormones.

Enter statins.

Statins are a type of medication known for lowering cholesterol, and through that process helping to reduce heart disease. According to the findings of a 2014 study published by the Journal of Sexual Medicine, statins might also help benefit men with erectile dysfunction.

In the past, research had shown that statins had a negative effect on testosterone levels. This meant that many physicians questioned the efficacy of cholesterol-lowering medication when it came to improving sexual health. But a 2014 study by researchers from the cardiovascular research department at Rutgers Universitys Robert Wood Johnson Medical School proved differently.

For the study, researchers conducted a meta-analysis of previous studies on erectile dysfunction and statins. 11 trials that measured erectile function using the International Index of Erectile Function (IIEF) were identified for analysis following a systematic search of MEDLINE, Web of Knowledge, the Cochrane Database, and ClinicalTrials.gov.

Whats the IIEF? The IIEF, taken from self-administered survey results, are a set of five questions, scored on a five-point scale that when totalled either indicates a low number, indicating poor sexual function, or the opposite.

Overall, the analysis revealed that their was statistically significant proof that statins caused a clinically relevant improvement of erectile function as measured by the five-item version of the IIEF in men who had both high cholesterol and ED. Specifically, the study found that, overall, IIEF scores rose by 3.4 points in men who took statins compared to the control, which represents a 24.3 per cent improvement.

The increase in erectile function scores with statins was approximately one-third to one-half of what has been reported with drugs like Viagra, Cialis or Levitra, Dr John Kostis, the director of Rutger Universitys Cardiovascular Institute who lead the study, said in an article in the Daily Mail. It was larger than the reported effect of lifestyle modification. For men with erectile dysfunction who need statins to control cholesterol, this may be an extra benefit.

Kostis went on to explain the teams understanding of their findings to the Daily Mail. They believe that the statins help to improve erectile function by assisting with blood vessel dilation, which in turn improves vascular blood flow to the penis.

Ultimately, a healthy lifestyle is the best method to prevent disease, including erectile dysfunction,” said Kostis, adding that although statin therapy may only help some people suffering from ED, in the long-run it has been proven to reduce your chances of experiencing cardiovascular disease.

Rather than preventing the possibility of a heart attack in the future, he said, the more immediate benefit of improving erectile function might improve adherence to statin therapy.

So, at its worst statin therapy will only help high cholesterol sufferers with their hearts and at its best, it could also improve their situation in the bedroom. Kostis was sure to add that statins should not be recommended as a primary form of treatment for ED, if patients have healthy cholesterol levels. He added that in order to more fully investigate the link between statin therapy and ED would require a larger trial.

In the end, like most issues pertaining to your health, the best solution requires a holistic approach. If you find yourself with high cholesterol and erectile dysfunction, its time to change your ways. Remember, step one: consult your physician. From there, with the right combination of diet, exercise and medication you could keep enjoying those great fruits of life, long into your years.

Robin Scher is a freelance writer from South Africa currently based in New York. He tweets infrequently @RobScherHimself.

More:
How High-Cholesterol Foods Can Ruin Your Sex Life – AlterNet

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WVU researchers study leukemia, bone marrow treatments – The Dominion Post

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WVU researchers study leukemia, bone marrow treatments – The Dominion Post

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