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Double-blind, randomized crossover study of intravenous infusion of … – PR Newswire (press release)

Studies have shown that 30-50 percent of patients diagnosed with MDD do not respond to an initial anti-depressant trial, while 15 percent will continue to suffer from depression. Treatment-resistant depression commonly refers to major depressive episodes that have not responded to two adequate trials of antidepressant monotherapy.

In a recent study conducted at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine and published in Psychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences (2016), 12 subjects with mild or moderate TRD were randomized into a double-blind crossover trial to receive an intravenous (IV) infusion of 4 g of magnesium sulfate in five percent dextrose or an IV infusion of five percent dextrose (placebo) with a one week washout period in between.

Subjects were assessed before and after the intervention for serum and urine magnesium. Assessment tools included the Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression (HAM-D), which is a clinician-used questionnaire to assess severity of depressive symptoms related to mood, feelings of guilt, suicidal ideation, insomnia, agitation or retardation, anxiety, weight loss, and somatic symptoms. The Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9) was also utilized and is a brief self-report tool that can be rapidly used by clinicians to determine the response to treatment.

Study results indicated a significant increase in the serum magnesium level in response to the magnesium sulfate IV infusion and as the serum magnesium increased from baseline to day seven, the PHQ-9 score significantly decreased during the same timeframe suggesting an improvement in depression symptoms. The change in the score for the HAM-D scale from day two to eight was also positively correlated with the PHQ-9 score change during the same time period. It was also noted that the 24-hour post-infusion scores on the HAM-D and PHQ-9 did not change. The treatment was well tolerated, and no serious adverse events were noted.

Researchers concluded that IV infusion of magnesium sulfate increased the serum level of magnesium, which was correlated with improved depression symptoms according to the PHQ-9. Improvements in the PHQ-9 and HAM-D were positively correlated. This is in alignment with current literature noting that the administration of magnesium may be beneficial for patients with TRD. Additional research is needed to assess the use of the various forms of magnesium as an alternative to the current standard of care for TRD. Funding for this investigation was provided by a grant from the Life Extension Foundation, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

For more information contact John E. Lewis, Ph.D., the principal investigator of the study at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine at or Dr. Steven Hirsh, director of clinical research, Life Extension Clinical Research, Inc. at

Mehdi S, Atlas S, Qadir S et al. Double-blind, randomized crossover study of intravenous infusion of magnesium sulfate versus 5% dextrose on depressive symptoms in adults with treatment-resistant depression. Psychiatry Clin Neurosci 2016 Nov 10 doi: 10.1111/pcn.12480.

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SOURCE Life Extension

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Double-blind, randomized crossover study of intravenous infusion of … – PR Newswire (press release)

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Acacia Mining sees 40 percent boost from mine extension | Reuters – Reuters

LONDON Feb 14 Tanzanian gold producer Acacia Mining said 2017 production would be lifted 40 percent by a mine life extension at Buzwagi following a strong 2016 when EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation) more than doubled.

“2016 was another successful year for Acacia as we delivered record production, reduced our all-in sustaining costs by 14 percent and more than doubled our net cash position,” Brad Gordon, chief executive of Acacia Mining, said.

For the coming year, the company said in a statement, a six-month extension of mining at Buzwagi will lead to a 40 percent output increase versus 2016. (Reporting by Barbara Lewis; Editing by Susan Fenton)

SHANGHAI, Feb 15, one of China’s largest matchmaking websites, has found itself an unlikely suitor in drone manufacturer DEA General Aviation that said on Wednesday it wants to buy the popular dating website to expand its business.

BERLIN, Feb 15 The German government is holding talks with General Motors and Peugeot to ensure that Opel’s three plants in Germany remain open should the U.S. carmaker succeed in selling its European unit to the French company, Labour Minister Andrea Nahles said on Wednesday.

* Pan american silver announces unaudited net earnings of $101.8 million ($0.66 per share) in 2016 and increases the quarterly dividend

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Acacia Mining sees 40 percent boost from mine extension | Reuters – Reuters

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SRS’s Melter 2 to be replaced | News | – The Star

Savannah River Sites Melter 2, a key component in the Defense Waste Processing Facility (DWPF), will be replaced after nearly 14 years of record-breaking operational performance. A heater inside Melter 2 failed on Feb. 1 and is deemed not repairable.

Melter 2 is only the second melter in the 20-year history of DWPF. It has been operating nearly 14 years, approximately 12 years beyond its design life expectancy. Melter 1 ran for about six years of radioactive service and another two years of non-radioactive simulant processing.

The operational concept for DWPF is to use a melter until it is no longer operational and then replace it with a new melter. There are no risks to the public, workers or the environment during melter replacement. The replacement melter, the third melter to be installed in DWPF, known as Melter 3, has been ready for years. Work to install it will begin shortly, and will require approximately six months.

Melter 2 has poured 2,819 canisters during its life, more than double what Melter 1 produced in its life span, which was 1,339 canisters. Melter 1 was placed into radioactive operation in March 1996, following approximately two years of non-radioactive simulant operations. Melter 2 began operating in 2003. Together, Melters 1 and 2 have poured 4,158 canisters through January 31, 2017. The predicted number of canisters needed to dispose of SRS high-level tank waste is 8,170, according to the SRS Liquid Waste System Plan Rev. 20.

Since beginning operations, DWPF has poured more than 16 million pounds of glass and has immobilized about 61 million curies of radioactivity.

Savannah River Remediation (SRR) operates DWPF, as well as other liquid waste facilities at SRS, as part of its contract with DOE. Operations are expected to continue at DWPF for approximately 20 more years.

SRR keeps one melter in storage in case the working melter needs to be replaced.

Melter life extension is the product of work by engineers and scientists. The increased Melter 2 operational life resulted from the following:

Incorporating an improved insert in the melter, used from the beginning of this melters operation, ensures glass waste doesnt cause the melters pour spout to erode;

Heating the internal area where the glass flows into a canister to ensure it does not stick;

Adjusting electrical current to the electrode heaters inside the melter to increase its heating capacity; and

Installing agitation bubblers that are used to improve the heat distribution in the waste glass pool in the melter to achieve a better pour rate.

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SRS’s Melter 2 to be replaced | News | – The Star

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Private Space Company Suing US Gov’t For Stealing Their Idea … – Daily Caller


A private space company is suing the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) for allegedly taking an idea and giving it to a foreign-owned competitor.

Orbital ATK accused DARPA, which develops military technology, of giving its business plan to repair satellites to Space Systems Loral (SSL), a company-based in California but registered as foreign-owned. Orbital ATK says handing business plans to SSL violates U.S. policy.

DARPA entered into a commercial partnership with Space Systems Loral (SSL) to take advantage of its Robotic Servicing of Geosynchronous Satellites (RSGS) program to capture, re-position, and repair satellites in orbit. DARPA plans to buy future RSGS services from SSL, despite it being a Bermuda-based company.

Orbital ATK has filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia in response to DARPAs apparent decision to continue pursuing a program that violates long-standing principles of the U.S. National Space Policy, wastes taxpayer funds, and benefits a foreign-owned corporation, VickiCox, a spokesperson for Orbital ATK, told The Daily Caller News Foundation. Orbital ATK is already investing its own private capital to develop in-space satellite servicing that includes satellite life extension, to be followed by robotic in-space repair and assembly capabilities.

Last year, Orbital ATK unveiled a similar satellite servicing business which will have to compete directly with the DARPA initiative. The U.S. company says it already has its first private customer and that this makes DARPAs actions unabashedly unfair and anti-competitive.

This could be a violation of the US National Space Policywhich requiresthat the government not build or buy systems that preclude, discourage or compete with commercial systems. The U.S. company claims that they have already invested in the satellite repair and refueling business. Orbital ATKs lawsuit says this means that DARPA interfered in a developing market in defiance of stated U.S. policy.

The U.S. National Space Policy explicitly directs government agencies to avoid funding activities that are already in development in the commercial marketplace, Cox continued. Orbital ATK will continue to pursue all available options to oppose DARPA from moving forward with this illegal and wasteful use of U.S. taxpayer dollars.

SSLclaims it has also already made asubstantial investment in the RSGS program and that DARPA deliberately chose them to ensure the services would be available far into the future. SSL will take over DARPAs RSGS satellite after a nine-month demonstration mission.

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Holistic Medicine Doctor in Dever, Colorado | BioViveMD

BioViveMD Your True Wellness Partner Serving Westminster, Centennial, Cherry Creek, Longmont, Lone Tree, Parker, Littleton, and all of Denver Biovive Medicine Colorados Leading Bioidentical Hormone Therapy Clinic

At BioViveMD, part of the BodyLogicMD physicians network, we dont cut corners. BioViveMD, is the anti-aging clinic where we take a comprehensive, cutting-edge, yet common sense approach to your health. At BioviveMD, we provide effective non-surgical alternatives to your anti-aging, skin rejuvenation, and sexual wellness needs. Restoring and maintaining health requires a multifaceted and comprehensive assessment of your needs there is no single supplement or pill to address the complexity of the human body. We focus on the foundations of health with hormone replacement and nutritional guidance, and further expand upon treatment tailored to the individual needs of each patient. We also embrace revolutionary techniques using platelet rich plasma (PRP), including the renowned Vampire Series of aesthetic treatments, the O-Shot and Priapus Shot sexual wellness therapies that promote true cellular rejuvenation, and the use of PRP for hair regrowth and regeneration. Aging happens, but looking and feeling youthful is often something that we can improve and control. We strive to provide safe and effective solutions for optimal health by advocating preventive and non-surgical alternatives to establish enduring optimal wellness. We work with you to explore your specific health concerns in designing a comprehensive health plan, and we focus on education as well so that you understand the steps you are taking for a better future. Together, lets find a healthy and vibrant you! We are not a bargain health business. Rather, we seek a long-term relationship with our clients. We want to be your true partner in wellness, rejuvenation and anti-aging. From weight loss and detoxification to sexual wellness and facial rejuvenation, we provide the knowledge, experience and skills to effectively and safely effect positive change in your life.

Dr. Lai of BioViveMD knows that the key to balanced health is addressing the needs of your entire body and designing a customized treatment plan that delivers lifelong solutions, not short-term fixes. From the pillars of nutrition to cutting-edge technology, like platelet rich plasma therapy, Dr. Lai will personally customize a treatment plan specifically for your unique needs and help you restore total wellness, from the inside out.

Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy

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Spark Up Your Sex Life

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Accelerates your Body’s Natural Healing Process

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Reverse the Effects of Sun, Aging, and Stress

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Achieve and Maintain your Optimal Weight

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5 Reasons Real Women Chart Their Menstrual Cycle – Verily

5 Reasons Real Women Chart Their Menstrual Cycle
The term for observing and tracking one's basal body temperature, cervical mucus, hormone levels, or some combination of these is fertility awareness based methods, or FABMs. Dr. Marguerite Duane, family physician and executive director of Fertility …

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5 Reasons Real Women Chart Their Menstrual Cycle – Verily

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The Thyroid Problem: How you can identify thyroid issues and free your health – Black Hills Pioneer

Could your thyroid actually be sabotaging your health? You or one of your loved ones could be suffering from thyroid problems, and Dr. Troy Howard of the Medical Center of Spearfish is here to help you identify and eradicate the problem, leaving you to a lifetime of wellness.

The thyroid gland is a butterfly shaped organ located at the midline of the neck, just below the Adams apple, and is responsible for creating and secreting thyroid hormone. This special hormone regulates cell metabolism throughout the entire body, helping you stay balanced and healthy. When problems occur with this organ, such as the growth of a thyroid nodule, your metabolism can become unregulated, wreaking havoc on your body. Unfortunately, around 50 percent of the population will have a thyroid nodule somewhere within their thyroid gland.

Thyroid nodules are small growths within the thyroid gland, itself. While the overwhelming majority of thyroid nodules are benign, they are still capable of causing health issues. If the growth is large enough they may become palpable to the touch and can cause compressive symptoms by pressing on your windpipe or esophagus, causing shortness of breath or difficulty swallowing. Another issue that can arise from these growths is the excess production of the hormone thyroxine, which may lead to hyperthyroidism and cause symptoms such as weight loss, intolerance to heat, tremors, nervousness, and rapid or irregular heartbeat. Despite these issues, thyroid nodules can present asymptomatic, causing no outward sign of this inward problem. Some nodules can even be cancerous. Using ultrasound and fine needle biopsy, your physician can help determine if a thyroid nodule has features concerning for cancer.

The majority of thyroid nodules are caused by overgrowth of normal thyroid tissue. The cause is usually unknown; however, in some cases, autoimmune problems, iodine deficiencies, and overactive thyroid can put you a higher risk for developing a nodule.

To find out if you or a loved one is suffering from a nodule, they can be initially diagnosed by a physical exam performed by your primary care physician. If there is suspicion of a thyroid nodule, usually your physician will order several tests and obtain a tissue sample from within the nodule to help better characterize its significance and healthy risk. Once a thyroid nodule has been diagnosed, you may be counseled by your primary care physician, or referred to a specialist either an endocrinologist or a surgeon. If surgery is required, you can put yourself in the experienced hands of Dr. Howard, who can assure his patients of an extremely low rate issues resulting from the procedure.

For more information about thyroid problems, or to schedule a consultation with Dr. Howard, call The Medical Center of Spearfish at 559-3201. Or, visit

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The Thyroid Problem: How you can identify thyroid issues and free your health – Black Hills Pioneer

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Ask the Doctor: Dizziness, Graves’ disease, herbal remedies – WNDU-TV

Doctor Rob Riley joins us from Memorial Family Medicine every Tuesday to answer viewer questions.

Here are the questions he addressed during NewsCenter 16 at Noon on February 14, 2017:

“My daughter plays travel softball and practices all year round. The last two practices she has gotten sick. She gets light-headed and dizzy. She also gets nauseous, has trouble breathing, and her chest hurts. Any idea what this could be?”

Dr. Riley: That group of symptoms — dizziness, nausea, shortness of breath, and chest discomfort — makes me think of anxiety attack as one possibility. With acute anxiety, people can hyperventilate, and that can cause all of those symptoms. Other possibilities include just one of these common viruses we’re seeing right now where the symptoms may not be all that apparent unless the person is exerting themselves, like at softball practice. Rarely, this can be something more serious like a heart issue, so I think it’s worth having your daughter checked out by her physician to make sure everything’s OK and to get proper treatment if that’s needed.

“Are there any natural alternatives for treating Graves’ disease?”

Dr. Riley: Graves’ disease is a disease of the thyroid gland where the gland gets confused and produces too much thyroid hormone. For reasons that aren’t well understood, the immune system produces a substance that stimulates the gland. Symptoms include racing heart, sweating, high blood pressure. We usually treat this either with medications that shut down the thyroid gland’s ability to make thyroid hormone, or by destroying the overactive gland with radiation. There’s really no so-called natural treatment that will shut down the thyroid gland’s production, so one of these options is the way to go in most cases.

“What’s your take on essential oils and herbal remedies?”

Dr. Riley: There’s a certain appeal to the idea of using substances found in nature to treat our illnesses rather than things cooked up in a laboratory. It feels safer. But natural doesn’t always mean safe — there are plenty of poisons in nature. In terms of effectiveness for various conditions, scientists started studying herbal remedies in earnest in the 1980’s and 90’s. Unfortunately, the results have been mostly disappointing, though studies have shown mixed results for some products. In general, the most commonly used products appear to be generally safe, though there are some risks of interacting with medications. So, in general, I don’t object to people trying an herbal remedy for a non-life threatening condition. If they feel they benefit, that’s great. But I don’t think the science is solid enough to recommend herbal treatments as first-line for any particular medical condition at this time.

Dr. Riley joins us from Memorial Family Medicine.

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A lot of blood, for no reason? Common, costly clot test has few benefits – Knowridge Science Report

A half billion dollars at least gets spent each year on blood tests to see which hospital patients have a genetic quirk that makes their blood more likely to form dangerous clots.

And most of that spending probably isnt necessary, according to a new paper by a University of Michigan Medical School team.

Writing in the Journal of Hospital Medicine, they review whats known about testing for the trait called inherited thrombophilia, and call for a drastic cut in the tests use by doctors across America.

After all, they write, hospitalized people who have already had such dangerous clots, called venous thromboembolisms or VTEs, dont need a positive genetic test to justify taking medication and making other changes to prevent future ones.

And theres no evidence that medication to prevent clots will help hospital patients who havent yet had a VTE. Testing their DNA for inherited thrombophilia wont change that.

In other words, the authors say, ordering inherited thromboembolism testing on inpatients is something doctors do for little or no reason.

And according to the teams analysis of data pulled from medical records, they do it hundreds of thousands of times a year in Medicare patients alone.

Often, it appears, the test gets ordered to satisfy curiosity about why a patient had a VTE, to see if theyre among the seven percent of Americans with a genetic mutation that makes blood more prone to clot.

There are several tests for several traits, so patients often get them in combination whats called a hypercoagulable workup.

But if doctors are following guidelines grounded in evidence, the test result should rarely change a patients care.

So, except in very specific cases where such clots are highly likely such as women with a family history of clots who are pregnant or getting hormone replacement therapy theres probably not much reason to do the test at all.

Resisting temptation

More testing is not always better, says Christopher Petrilli, M.D., an assistant professor of internal medicine at U-M and co-first author of the new paper.

Testing for this disorder is almost never beneficial, and in fact can even be harmful because it can cause undue psychological distress for the patient, and unnecessary expense for the healthcare system, he adds.

Physicians and patients should resist the temptation to perform costly search for an underlying genetic cause of venous thrombosis, says co-first author Lauren Heidemann, M.D., also an assistant professor of medicine.

Petrilli and Heidemann both hospitalists who specialize in treating patients in the U-M Health Systems University Hospital have set out to address such no reason testing at UMHS and beyond.

Theyve co-founded a local chapter of the group Providers for Responsible Ordering, which aims to help physicians, nurse practitioners and physician assistants reduce over-testing and use health care resources appropriately.

Theyve also led the effort to make UMHS one of more than 40 founding members of the High Value Practice Academic Research Alliance, which is working to bring institutions together to help one another implement strategies that make better use of resources.

The current climate of public attention on new genetic testing options and personalized medicine could make this difficult in some cases, they note in the paper.

Ideally, genetic tests to find out whether someone carries a certain genetic trait should be used when theres clear information about the risks, benefits and costs of that test.

With national health care spending reaching an unsustainable level, we as physicians need to be vigilant about becoming stewards of health care resources, says Heidemann.

For the paper, Petrilli, Heidemann and their colleagues reviewed the full scope of literature and established guidelines on inherited thrombophilia testing.

They illustrated the situation by applying this information to a hypothetical case of a young patient with a VTE but no family history who suffers a pulmonary embolism a dangerous health emergency where clots form in the lower extremities and travel to the lungs, potentially cutting off oxygen to the body unless treatment starts quickly.

They note the conclusions about VTE prevention and treatment that have been reached by several medical bodies including an American College of Chest Physicians guideline recommending against giving clot-prevention medication to people with the genetic trait but no VTE history.

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News source: University of Michigan. The content is edited for length and style purposes. Figure legend: This image is for illustrative purposes only.

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In West Africa, clinics confront suspicion, and husbands, one IUD at a time – STAT


UAGADOUGOU, Burkina Faso It was after dark when awoman and her husband arrived. They crossed the dirt road and entered the cement buildingin a western neighborhood ofthis sprawling West African capital.

He had a demand: Remove the metal rodsyouve put in my wifes arm.Hed heard rumors that the strange technological device was going to give her cancer, and itneeded to go.

The nurse on duty at the health clinic, Bernadette Nassa, was insistent. She explained that the tiny rods were there for a reason: They provided the womansbody with a hormone to keep her from having children. She needed to give her body rest before becoming pregnant again.Eventually, the husband relented.

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But, Nassa said, theres not always ahappyending. Shes seen womenwhose husbands insist on a divorce if their wife usescontraception.

Such encountersunderscore the difficultyof providingcontraceptive services and womenshealth care inOuagadougou and in other developing countries where reproductivehealth education is limited and husbands make many decisions for their wives.

Did gender bias derail a potential birth control option for men?

But since May, the clinic hashad a new partner: Pathfinder International, a nonprofit geared towardincreasing global access to reproductive health services. And soon many more clinics could receive their help. Pathfinder last month received a $10 million grant from theBill and Melinda Gates Foundation, based in part on the work theyve done in Burkina Faso, to study how tohelp women get access to contraception.

For instance,Nassas clinic is one of 84 in Burkina Faso that have received the tools to insert an intrauterine device, or IUD, from Pathfinder, according toDr. Bruno Ki, the organizations technical director in the country. Before that, theclinic didnt even have the basic specula and tongs used in gynecological exams. Since May, Nassaestimates, theclinic has performed 30 or 40 IUD insertions a month, and the devices remaineffective for up to 12 years.

Each morning, a hundred women crowd into Nassas small waiting room and spill out into the courtyard; she and her staff, just under a dozen, cant take care of all of them. Her cement clinic only has four rooms for patients, so one doubles as a birthing suite and a family planning consultation room.

Demand for the clinics services has soared since the government started subsidizing health care for new mothers and young children in April. Now, health care is free for womenfor six weeks after they give birth.

That makes for a crucial juncture for Nassa to intervene. Back-to-back births carry higher risks for both mother and baby, and non-hormonal methods of contraception, including IUDs, are safe to use while the woman is still breastfeeding.

If she comes in with her child, we can use that opportunity to chat with her about contraceptive methods before she gets pregnant again, Nassa said through a translator. She tells the women about all kinds of contraceptive methods, including IUDs.

Malaria kills a half-million Africans a year. Gene-edited mosquitoes might stop it

Pathfinder is also funding improvements at other health clinics around the city. It is building a cement incinerator for medical waste at a health clinic in Bangpoor, a poor neighborhood by the railroad tracks to Abidjan, where the current incinerator was nothing more than a brick fire pit in which a stack of papers smoldered next to a jumble of aluminum and a can of insecticide that had not yet exploded.

Meanwhile, the organization is working at a national level to change the countrys laws on abortion.

Abortion law is very restrictive in Burkina Faso, Ki said. In 2012, we [had] more than 105,000 unsafe abortions in Burkina Faso.

Currently, abortions are only legal if ordered by a judge, and only in four cases: rape, incest, if the mothers health is at risk, or if there is a high probability the child will be born with an incurable congenital disorder.

As a result, many women try to induce an abortion, with horrifying results. Ki has heard stories about women who stuck bleach pills into their vagina or drank soup laced with ground glass.

If the new statute is adopted, women would be able to receive an abortion if their mental health or social well-being is at risk. The legislature was supposed to vote on the changes in October, but never did, Ki said, and hes not sure when they will pick it up in the future.

If those at Pathfinder want their work to have a lasting impact, they know that it will have to involve changing the attitudes of husbands and mothers-in-law, who often exercise a lot of control over a womans choices.

A few years ago, Pathfinder completed a project where it educated mothers-in-law about the importance of contraception, convincing them to accompany their daughters-in-law to the health clinic. Ki said the project was successful: Pathfinder worked with local nongovernmental organizations to talk with hundreds of mothers-in-law, some of whom later accompanied their daughters-in-law to receive contraception.

And Nassa acknowledged that one of the reasons so many husbands abhor contraception is that their ideas are based on rumors; they rarely learn how implants, IUDs, or injections actually work.

And that can lead to confrontations like the one Nassa experienced with the angry husband last month.

Here in Africa, especially in Burkina Faso, a woman cannot take a decision by herself, she said through a translator. It is the men that decide.

Kate Sheridan contributed reporting.

Ike Swetlitz can be reached at Follow Ike on Twitter @ikeswetlitz

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In West Africa, clinics confront suspicion, and husbands, one IUD at a time – STAT

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Is hormone melatonin the link between sleep and breast cancer? – Knowridge Science Report

The hormone melatonin appears to suppress the growth of breast cancer tumors, say researchers.

While treatments based on this key discovery are still years away, the results, published in the journal Genes and Cancer, offer a foundation forfuture research.

You can watch bears in the zoo, but you only understand bear behavior by seeing them in the wild, says coauthor David Arnosti, a biochemistry professor and director of the Gene Expression in Development and Disease Initiative at Michigan State University.

Similarly, understanding the expression of genes in their natural environment reveals how they interact in disease settings.

The brain manufactures melatonin only at night to regulate sleep cycles. Epidemiologists and experimentalists have speculated that the lack of melatonin, due in part to our sleep-deprived modern society, puts women at higher risk for breast cancer.

This newstudy shows that melatonin suppresses the growth of breast cancer stem cells, providing scientific proof to support the growing body of anecdotal evidence on sleep deprivation.

Before the team could test its theory, the scientists had to grow tumors from stem cells, known as mammospheres, a method perfected in the Michigan State laboratory of James Trosko.

The growth of these mammospheres was enhanced with chemicals known to fuel tumor growth, namely, the natural hormone estrogen, and estrogen-like chemical Bisphenol A, or BPA, found in many types of plastic food packages.

Melatonin treatment significantly decreased the number and size of mammospheres when compared with the control group.

Furthermore, when the cells were stimulated by estrogen or BPA and treated with melatonin at the same time, there was a greater reduction in the number and size of mammospheres.

This work establishes the principal by which cancer stem cell growth may be regulated by natural hormones, and provides an important new technique to screen chemicals for cancer-promoting effects, as well as identify potential new drugs for use in the clinic, Trosko says.

Additional researchers at Michigan State and from the Faculdade de Medicina de Sao Jose do Rio Preto in Brazil contributed to the work.

Want to find more Breast Cancer news? Follow Knowridge Science Report onFacebook.

News source: Michigan State University. The content is edited for length and style purposes. Figure legend: This image is for illustrative purposes only.

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Yeovil Hospital sorry for charges of over 400 wrongly sent to stressed mum of disabled girl – Somerset Live


Imagine you’re a busy mother-of-three with a daughter who has profound disabilities.

You have to visit Yeovil Hospital quite often on more than one occasion every week – you have a blue badge, your car registration is registered with the hospital.

And yet you keep getting issued with parking charges.

That’s what’s happened to Nicky Fordon from Ash six times in the last couple of months – the charges she has faced total more than 400.

On each occasion the ticket has been cancelled – but after she’s had to make yet another journey there to deal with it in person.

“It’s stressful, time-consuming and completely unnecessary,” said Mrs Fordon, 52.

“When I had the first one I was really worried – I couldn’t work out what I’d done.”

The hospital has admitted there is a problem with the system and apologised, but Mrs Fordon says she’s worried about vulnerable and elderly people who may be shelling out unnecessarily.

MORE: Yeovil Hospital’s new multi-storey car park opening is delayed for another two months

She was shocked to get the first ticket and studying it closely she realised that somehow the camera monitoring the entrance to the hospital had registered her as parking there and not in a disabled parking bay.

“It showed my car and registration and it said I’d stopped there for an hour and a half – but it could only have been for a few seconds while I waited for a parking bay to be free or to let someone out.

“I mean I was in the car and the brake lights were on!”

Mrs Fordon has to regularly visit the hospital with her daughter Rebecca who has learning disablities and suffers from a rare condition called diabetes insipidus and hypopituitarism.

It means she has to have regular appointments at Yeovil hospital to make sure her sodium levels are sufficient because she can’t retain liquids.

If they’re too low this can be dangerous and mean a trip to the Bristol Royal Infirmary.

MORE: New Boots branch to open in Yeovil Hospital later this month

“I feel like I spend my life at the hospital so it’s a real pain to have to go back with the tickets – there’s no number you can phone to talk to anyone, I’ve got to go in person.

“I think there must be loads of elderly people who just pay without questioning it.

“What’s going to happen when they open the new car park? Is it going to get any better?”

A Yeovil Hospital spokeswoman said: “We would like to apologise for the inconvenience caused to this lady who has received these fines in error.

“The spaces out of the front of the hospital are controlled by ParkingEye who use number-plate recognition cameras. We have assisted with dealing with each ticket on an individual basis but this issue will now be escalated to ParkingEye for them to investigate.

“This is an unusual case and we would encourage this lady to get back into contact with us so we can address her concerns.”

READ NEXT: Tributes to ‘an amazing’ Yeovil Town supporter, 103, who had soft spot for Terry Skiverton’s legs

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Yeovil Hospital sorry for charges of over 400 wrongly sent to stressed mum of disabled girl – Somerset Live

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Hypogonadism in Reproductive Years – Renal and Urology News

Hypogonadism in Reproductive Years
Renal and Urology News
Hypogonadism in Reproductive Years. An obese 43-year-old male presents for evaluation of primary infertility and loss of libido. His wife is 37 and has regular periods but has moderate premature ovarian failure. Aside from the obesity, the physical …

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Testosterone therapy provides protection against cardiovascular disease in men with low testosterone – Science Daily

Despite the continued controversy surrounding the use of testosterone in men who have testosterone deficiency (hypogonadism), a new study has found that long-term use of testosterone therapy not only improves vigor and vitality, but may reduce the risk of death due to cardiovascular (CV) disease.

These findings appear online in the Journal of Cardiovascular Pharmacology and Therapeutics.

Testosterone (T) is the primary male sex hormone. In men, T plays a key role in the development of male reproductive tissues as well as promoting secondary sexual characteristics such as increased muscle and bone mass and growth of body hair. In addition, T is essential for overall health and well-being and for the prevention of osteoporosis. Insufficient levels of circulating T in men, contributes to frailty and bone loss.

In the absence of large, prospective, placebo-controlled clinical trials of longer duration, substantial evidence regarding the safety and risk of testosterone therapy (TTh) with regard to cardiovascular outcomes can only be gleaned from observational studies. To date, there are limited studies comparing the effects of long-term TTh in hypogonadal men who were treated or remained untreated with T.

Researchers at Boston University Schools of Medicine (BUSM) and Public Health (BUSPH), along with researchers in Germany, established a registry to assess long-term effectiveness and safety of T in men. For this study, they sought to compare its effects on a host of parameters (obesity, cholesterol levels, diabetes, liver function) considered to contribute to cardiovascular disease.

The researchers followed a group of men for eight years who had been on TTh and compared them with another group of men who remained untreated for the same time period. They found there were only two deaths in the TTh group and neither was related to CV events. In the non-treated control group, there were 21 deaths, 19 of which were related to CV events. Furthermore, there were 26 non-fatal myocardial infarctions and 30 non-fatal strokes in the control group but none in the T-treated group.

According to the researchers, long-term TTh in men with hypogonadism appears to be an effective approach to achieve sustained improvements in cardiometabolic function and reduces the risk of CV events. “The low CV events observed in the T-group compared to the untreated (control) group strongly suggest that TTh is protective. We believe that the protective effect of T on the CV system provides clinicians with the opportunity to utilize this approach for secondary prevention for hypogonadal men with a history of CV events,” explained corresponding author Abdulmaged M. Traish, PhD, professor of biochemistry and urology at BUSM.

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Testosterone therapy provides protection against cardiovascular disease in men with low testosterone – Science Daily

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Researchers develop ‘living diode’ using cardiac muscle cells – Science Daily

Scientists are one step closer to mimicking the way biological systems interact and process information in the body — a vital step toward developing new forms of biorobotics and novel treatment approaches for several muscle-related health problems such as muscular degenerative disorders, arrhythmia and limb loss.

Using cardiac muscle cells and cardiac fibroblasts — cells found in connective heart tissue — researchers at the University of Notre Dame have created a “living diode,” which can be used for cell-based information processing, according to a recent study in Advanced Biosystems. Bioengineers created the muscle-based circuitry through a novel, self-forming, micro patterning approach.

Using muscle cells opens the door to functional, biological structures or “computational tissues” that would allow an organ to control and direct mechanical devices in the body. The design arranges the two types of cells in a rectangular pattern, separating excitable cells from nonexcitable cells, allowing the team to transduce electrical signals unidirectionally and achieve a diode function using living cells. In addition to the diode-like function, the natural pacing ability of the muscle cells allowed Pinar Zorlutuna, assistant professor of aerospace and mechanical engineering, and her team to pass along information embedded in the electrical signals by modulating the frequency of the cells’ electrical activity. Zorlutuna’s research was funded by the National Science Foundation.

“Muscle cells have the unique ability to respond to external signals while being connected to fibroblasts internally through intercellular junctions. By combining these two cell types, we have the ability to initiate, amplify and propagate signals directionally,” said Zorlutuna, who is also director of the Tissue Engineering Laboratory at the university. “The success of these muscle-cell diodes offers a path toward linking such cell-based circuitry to a living system — and creating functional control units for biomedical engineering applications such as bioactuators or biosensors.”

The team’s work presents a new option in biocomputing, which has focused primarily on using gene circuitries of genetically modified single-cells or neuronal networks doped with chemical additives to create information processing systems. The single-cell options are slower to process information since they relay on chemical processes, and neuronal-based approaches can misfire signals, firing backward up to 10 percent of the time.

Zorlutuna explores biomimetic environments in order to understand and control cell behavior. She also studies cell-cell and cell-environment interactions through tissue and genetic engineering, and micro- and nanotechnology at the Notre Dame Center for Nano Science and Technology. She is a researcher at the University’s Center for Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine and the Harper Cancer Research Institute.

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Stem cell technique may aid in bone repair – Bel Marra Health

Home Bone Health Stem cell technique may aid in bone repair

A new method for repairing damaged bones with stem cell and carbon material has been developed by researchers working with the Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology (UNIST). The method involves using stem cells from human bone marrow and carbon sheets with photocatalytic properties, and may help to create better treatments for bone injuries like periodontal disease and fractures.

During their study, researchers found that carbon nitride sheets that absorb red light encourage proliferation and growth of bone, as well as osteogenic differentiation. Human bone marrow stem cells have previously been used in the treatment of fractures, as they promote bone regeneration even in patients who have lost large areas of bone because of trauma or disease. The use of carbon nitride sheets alongside the bone marrow stem cells in this study were an attempt to accelerate the regeneration process.

Researchers found that when the carbon nitride was exposed to red light, it absorbed the light and emitted fluorescence, which is already known to expedite bone regeneration. The study also showed proliferation in osteogenic differentiation genes and accelerated bone formation in cells that were cultured in the lab.

This new stem cell research shows that coupling human bone marrow stem cells with carbon nitride could prove to be an effective way to create new bone material in areas that are lacking. With further research, this method could soon be applied to helping to heal bone fractures and wear-and-tear related to diseases like osteoporosis, as well as used to create new joints and teeth.

Related: Improve bone density and reduce the risk of osteoporosis with lifestyle changes

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Whitstable family make plea for bone marrow donor – Kent Online – Kent Online

Wednesday, February 15 2017

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12 February 2017

by Eleanor Perkins

The son of a man who needs a bone marrow transplant has made a desperate plea for people to join a donor register to help find the perfect match.

Yevi Ilangakoon, from Whitstable, was diagnosed with myelofibrosis – a serious bone marrow disorder which disrupts the bodys normal production of blood cells – in 2009.

It affects about one in every 100,000 people and can progress into leukaemia.

Yevi Ilangakoon, who needs a bone marrow transplant, with son Yovaan

Originally from Sri Lanka, Mr Ilangakoon currently manages by using medication but his only cure would be a bone marrow transplant using stem cells.

But since medical professionals have been unable to find a 100% match, his family have launched an appeal encouraging people to sign up as donors online – particularly those in the South Asian community.

His son Yovaan Ilangakoon said: My dads condition has deteriorated significantly and it now has the potential to turn into leukaemia. His life expectancy is now limited.

His only hope is to have a bone marrow transplant using stem cells. The medical team has searched the worldwide registers but has not been able to find a 100% match as yet.

“This is mainly due to the South Asian community being under represented on the bone marrow registers.

I am trying to get as many people on the bone marrow register, particularly those from South Asian origin in order to find a match for him and hundreds of others in similar situations.

Mr Ilangakoon says signing up online is simple and takes less than two minutes. People will then be sent a kit via the post.

He added: All you have to do is swab the inside of your cheek with the cotton bud they send you and send it back to them in the pre-paid envelope. Its that simple.

If you ever become a match for a person who needs a stem cell transplant, donating your stem cells is as simple as donating blood.

We are relying on our faith in Jesus and are confident that soon he will find a match and have a successful transplant and be healed completely.

God has always been faithful to our family.

If you are above 30 years and living in the UK, register here.If you are below 30,register here.

Click here for more news from Whitstable.

Click here for more news from around the county.

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Whitstable family make plea for bone marrow donor – Kent Online – Kent Online

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Senior Becomes the Match to donate bone marrow and saves life – Villanovan (subscription)

On Feb. 2, Naomi Ng 16 donated peripheral blood stem cells at an outpatient clinic as part of the Be The Match donor program. She was matched after registering for Be The Match through the Andy Talley Bone Marrow Foundation.

You swab your cheek and you might save someones life, Ng said. Its so easy to register to be a donor that you dont think about the impact.

Ng was informed of the potential match in the fall of 2016 and completed initial blood work. Having graduated in May with a degree in Environmental Studies, she had just begun working for Amtrak in D.C. as senior service planner. She was not contacted again until mid-December, and completed the non-surgical procedure several weeks later.

The Andy Talley Bone Marrow Foundation, a non-profit created in 2010 by the recently retired head football coach. Talley began promoting awareness about bone marrow donation in 1992 by hosting testing opportunities on campus. In 2008, he partnered with Be The Match to form the Get in the Game. Save a Life initiative. The foundation has now enlisted over 78 college football programs to participate in the foundations mission, registering young, healthy college students with the Be the Match registry to increase the chances of finding a bone marrow match for patients diagnosed with blood cancer.

Like many University students Ng registered at one of Talleys on campus testing drives. She swabbed her cheek, filled out the paperwork and doubted that she would ever get a call. I kind of forget that I had registered for it, Ng said. I had hoped obviously, because I wouldnt have registered if I didnt want to do it. Its just such a slim chance.

The donation of peripheral blood stem cells is one of two methods for collecting the blood-forming cells that recipients need. For five days before the procedure, Ng was given injections of filgrastim to increase the number of stem cells in her blood. On the day of the procedure she was connected to a machine via a needle in one arm and her blood was run through the machine and returned to her body through the other arm.

Although the filgrastim injections were painful, Ng described the procedure as pretty non-invasive, saying, I actually slept through the procedure. When I woke up I was like, thats it? I can leave now?

Ngs match is a 66-year old man, but his age and gender are the only things she knows about him. A year after the procedure, Be The Match will help to facilitate contact between the two if desired by donor and recipient.

Its a really emotional experience, Ng said. Ive never met this guy. I dont know his name. I dont know anything about him, but I feel like I have an emotional connection to him now. I dont know yet, but I might have saved his life.

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Senior Becomes the Match to donate bone marrow and saves life – Villanovan (subscription)

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Lights, Carbon Nitride, Bone Regeneration! – Asian Scientist Magazine

Growing stem cells on carbon nitride sheets not only activates bone-related genes, but also releases calcium ions when exposed to red light.

Asian Scientist Newsroom | February 15, 2017 | In the Lab

AsianScientist (Feb. 15, 2017) – Light absorbing nanosheets could help bone regrowth, according to a study by researchers at the Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology published in ACS Nano.

Human bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells (hBMSCs) have been successfully used to treat fractures by regenerating lost bone tissue. To increase the area of bone regeneration, scientists have attempted to enhance the function of stem cells using carbon nanotubes, graphenes and nano-oxides.

In the present study, Professors Kim Kwang S. and Suh Pann-Ghill examined the bone regenerative abilities of carbon nitride (C3N4) nanosheets. Firstly, Kim’s team synthesized carbon nitrogen derivatives from melamine compounds. Then, they analyzed the light-absorbing characteristics of C3N4 sheets at a wavelength range of 455-635 nanometers (nm).

They found that the C3N4 sheets emit fluorescence at the wavelength of 635 nm when exposed to red light in a liquid state. The released electrons induced calcium to accumulate in the cytoplasm, thereby speeding up bone regeneration.

Suh’s team then conducted studies investigating biomedical applications of this material. To do so, they cultured stem cells and cancer cells in a medium containing 200 g/ml of C3N4 sheets. The material showed no cytotoxicity after two days of testing, suggesting that it is biocompatible.

They also confirmed that C3N4 sheets induce stem cells to differentiate into osteoblasts to promote mineral formation, turning on osteogenic differentiation marker genes such as ALP, BSP, and OCN. Moreover, Runx2 (Runt-related transcription factor 2), a key transcription factor in osteoblast differentiation was also activated. This gene activation resulted in the increased osteoblast differentiation and accelerated bone formation.

This research has opened up the possibility of developing a new medicine that effectively treats skeletal injuries, such as fractures and osteoporosis, said co-author Professor Seo Young-Kyo. It will be a very useful tool for making artificial joints and teeth with the use of 3D printing.

This is an important milestone in the analysis of biomechanical functions needed for the development of biomaterials, including adjuvants for hard tissues such as damaged bones and teeth.

The research team expects that their findings affirm the potential of C3N4 sheets in developing bone formation and directing hBMSCs toward bone regeneration.

The article can be found at: Tiwari et al. (2016) Accelerated Bone Regeneration by Two-Photon Photoactivated Carbon Nitride Nanosheets.

Source: Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology. Disclaimer: This article does not necessarily reflect the views of AsianScientist or its staff.

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Market Players Developing iPS Cell Therapies

While a number of companies have dabbled in this space, the following players are facilitating the development of iPS cell therapies: Cellular Dynamics International (CDI),Cynata Therapeutics, RIKEN, and Astellas (previously Ocata Therapeutics).

While each iPS cell therapy group is considered in detail below, Cellular Dynamics International (CDI) is featured first, because it dominates the iPSC industry. CDI also recently split into two business units, a Life Science Unit and a Therapeutics Unit, demonstrating a commercial strategy for its iPS cell therapy development.

Founded in 2004 and listed on NASDAQ in July 2013, Cellular Dynamics International (CDI) is headquartered in Madison, Wisconsin. The company is known for itsextremely robust patent portfolio containing more than 900 patents.

According to the company, CDI is the worlds largest producer of fully functional human cells derived from induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells.[1] Their trademarked, iCell Cardiomyocytes, derived from iPSCs, are human cardiac cells used to aid drug discovery, improve the predictability of a drugs worth, and screen for toxicity. In addition, CDI provides: iCell Endothelial Cells for use in vascular-targeted drug discovery and tissue regeneration, iCell Hepatocytes, and iCell Neurons for pre-clinical drug discovery, toxicity testing, disease prediction, and cellular research.[2]

Induced pluripotent stem cells were first produced in 2006 from mouse cells and in 2007 from human cells, by Shinya Yamanaka at Kyoto University,[3] who also won the Nobel Prize in Medicine or Physiology for his work on iPSCs.[4] Yamanaka has ties toCellular Dynamics International as a member of the scientific advisory board of iPS Academia Japan. IPS Academia Japan was originally established to manage the patents and technology of Yamanakas work, and is now the distributor of several of Cellular Dynamics products, including iCell Neurons, iCell Cardiomyocytes, and iCell Endothelial Cells.[5]

Importantly, in 2010 Cellular Dynamics became the first foreign company to be granted rights to use Yamanakas iPSC patent portfolio.Not only has CDI licensed rights to Yamanakas patents, but it also has a license to use Otsu, Japan-based Takara Bios RetroNectin product, which it uses as a tool to produce its iCell and MyCell products.[6]

Furthermore, in February 2015, Cellular Dynamics International announcedit would be manufacturing cGMP HLA Superdonor stem cell lines that will support cellular therapy applications through genetic matching.[8] Currently, CDI has two HLA superdonor cell lines that provide a partial HLA match to approximately 19% of the population within the U.S., and it aims to expand its master stem cell bank by collecting more donor cell lines that will cover 95% of the U.S. population.[9]The HLA superdonor cell lines were manufactured using blood samples, and used to produce pluripotent iPSC lines, giving the cells the capacity to differentiate into nearly any cell within the human body.

On March 30, 2015, Fujifilm Holdings Corporation announced that it was acquiring CDI for $307 million, allowingCDI tocontinue to run its operations in Madison, Wisconsin, and Novato, California as a consolidated subsidiary of Fujifilm.[14] A key benefit of the merger is that CDIs technology platform enables the production of high-quality fully functioning iPSCs (and other human cells) on an industrial scale, while Fujifilm has developed highly-biocompatible recombinant peptidesthat can be shaped into a variety of forms for use as a cellular scaffoldin regenerative medicinewhen used in conjunction with CDIs products.[15]

Additionally, Fujifilm has been strengthening its presence in the regenerative medicine field over the past several years, including a recent A$4M equity stake in Cynata Therapeutics and anacquisition ofJapan Tissue Engineering Co. December 2014. Most commonly called J-TEC, Japan Tissue Engineering Co. Ltd. successfully launched the first two regenerative medicine products in the country of Japan.According toKaz Hirao, CEO of CDI, It is very important for CDI to get into the area of therapeutic products, and we can accelerate this by aligning it with strategic and technical resources present within J-TEC.

Kaz Hirao also states,For our Therapeutic businesses, we will aim to file investigational new drugs (INDs) with the U.S. FDA for the off-the-shelf iPSC-derived allogeneic therapeutic products. Currently, we are focusing on retinal diseases, heart disorders, Parkinsons disease, and cancers. For those four indicated areas, we would like to file several INDs within the next five years.

Finally, in September 2015, CDI againstrengthened its iPS cell therapycapacity by setting up a new venture, Opsis Therapeutics. Opsis is focused on discovering and developing novel medicines to treat retinal diseases and is apartnership with Dr. David Gamm, the pioneer of iPS cell-derived retinal differentiation and transplantation.

In summary, several key events indicate CDIs commitment to developing iPS cell therapeutics, including:

Australian stem cell company Cynata Therapeutics (ASX:CYP) is taking a unique approachby creating allogeneic iPSC derived mesenchyal stem cell (MSCs)on a commercial scale.Cynatas Cymerus technology utilizes iPSCs provided by Cellular Dynamics International, a Fujifilm company, as the starting material for generating mesenchymoangioblasts (MCAs), and subsequently, for manufacturing clinical-gradeMSCs.According to Cynatas Executive Chairman Stewart Washer who was interviewed by The Life Sciences Report, The Cymerus technology gets around the loss of potency with the unlimited iPS cellor induced pluripotent stem cellwhich is basically immortal.

OnJanuary 19, 2017, Fujifilm took anA$3.97 million (10%) strategic equity stakein Cynata, positioning the parties to collaborate on the further development and commercialisation of Cynatas lead Cymerus therapeutic MSC product CYP-001 for graft-versus-host disease (GvHD). (CYP-001 is the product designation unique to the GVHD indication). The Fujifilm partnership also includes potential future upfront and milestone payments in excess of A$60 million and double-digit royalties on CYP-001 product net sales for Cynata Therapeutics, as well as strategic relationship for potential future manufacture of CYP-001 and certain rights to other Cynata technology.

One of the key inventors of Cynatas technology is Igor Slukvin, MD, Ph.D., Scientific Founder of Cellular Dynamics International (CDI) and Cynata Therapeutics. Dr. Slukvin has released more than 70 publications about stem cell topics, including the landmark article in Cell describing the now patented Cymerus technique. Dr. Slukvins co-inventor is Dr. James Thomson, the first person to isolate an embryonic stem cell (ESC) and one of the first people to create a human induced pluripotent stem cell (hiPSC). Dr. James Thompson was theFounder of CDI in 2004.

There are three strategic connections between Cellular Dynamics International (CDI) and Cynata Therapeutics, which include:

Recently, Cynata received advice from the UK Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) that its Phase I clinical trial application has been approved, titledAn Open-Label Phase 1 Study to Investigate the Safety and Efficacy of CYP-001 for the Treatment of Adults With Steroid-Resistant Acute Graft Versus Host Disease. It will be the worlds first clinical trial involving a therapeutic product derived from allogeneic (unrelated to the patient) induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs).

Participants for Cynatas upcoming Phase I clinical trial will be adults who have undergone an allogeneic haematopoietic stem cell transplant (HSCT) to treat a haematological disorder and subsequently been diagnosed with steroid-resistant Grade II-IV GvHD.The primary objective of the trial is to assess safety and tolerability, while the secondary objective is to evaluate the efficacy of two infusions of CYP-001 in adults with steroid-resistant GvHD.

Using Professor Yamankas Nobel Prize winning achievement of ethically uncontentious iPSCs and CDIs high quality iPSCs as source material, Cynata has achieved two world firsts:

Cynata has also released promising pre-clinical data in Asthma, Myocardial Infarction (Heart Attack), andCritical Limb Ischemia.

There are four key advantages of Cynatas proprietary Cymerus MSC manufacturing platform.Because the proprietary Cymerus technology allows nearly unlimited production of MSCs from a single iPSC donor, there is batch-to-batch uniformity. Utilizing a consistent starting material allows for a standardized cell manufacturing process and a consistent cell therapy product. Unlike other companies involved with MSC manufacturing, Cynata does not require a constant stream of new donors in order to source fresh stem cells for its cell manufacturing process, nor does it require the massive expansion of MSCs necessitated by reliance on freshly isolated donations.

Finally, Cynata has achieved a cost-savings advantage through its uniqueapproach to MSCmanufacturing. Its proprietary Cymerus technology addresses a critical shortcoming in existing methods of production of MSCs for therapeutic use, which is the ability to achieve economic manufacture at commercial scale.

On June 22, 2016, RIKEN announced that it is resuming its retinal induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) study in partnership with Kyoto University.

2013 was the first time in which clinical research involving transplant of iPSCs into humans was initiated, led by Masayo Takahashi of the RIKEN Center for Developmental Biology (CDB)in Kobe, Japan. Dr. Takahashi and her team wereinvestigating the safety of iPSC-derived cell sheets in patients with wet-type age-related macular degeneration. Althoughthe trial was initiated in 2013 and production of iPSCs from patients began at that time, it was not until August of 2014 that the first patient, a Japanese woman, was implanted with retinal tissue generated using iPSCs derived from her own skin cells.

A team of three eye specialists, led by Yasuo Kurimoto of the Kobe City Medical Center General Hospital, implanted a 1.3 by 3.0mm sheet of iPSC-derived retinal pigment epithelium cells into the patients retina.[196]Unfortunately, the study was suspended in 2015 due to safety concerns. As the lab prepared to treat the second trial participant, Yamanakas team identified two small genetic changes in the patients iPSCs and the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) cells derived from them. Therefore, it is major news that theRIKEN Institute will now be resuming the worlds first clinical study involving the use of iPSC-derived cells in humans.

According to the Japan Times, this attempt at the clinical studywill involve allogeneic rather than autologous iPSC-derived cells for purposes of cost and time efficiency.Specifically,the researchers will be developing retinal tissues from iPS cells supplied by Kyoto Universitys Center for iPS Cell Research and Application, an institution headed by Nobel prize winner Shinya Yamanaka. To learn about this announcement, view this article fromAsahi Shimbun, aTokyo- based newspaper.

In November 2015 Astellas Pharma announced it was acquiring Ocata Therapeutics for $379M. Ocata Therapeutics is a biotechnology company that specializes in the development of cellular therapies, using both adult and human embryonic stem cells to develop patient-specific therapies. The companys main laboratory and GMP facility is in Marlborough, Massachusetts, and its corporate offices are in Santa Monica, California.

When a number of private companies began to explore the possibility of using artificially re-manufactured iPSCs for therapeutic purposes, one such company that was ready to capitalize on the breakthrough technology was Ocata Therapeutics, at the time called Advanced Cell Technology. In 2010, the company announced that it had discovered several problematic issues while conducting experiments for the purpose of applying for U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval to use iPSCs in therapeutic applications. Concerns such as premature cell death, mutation into cancer cells, and low proliferation rates were some of the problems that surfaced. [17]

As a result, the company shifted its induced pluripotent stem cell approach to producingiPS cell-derived human platelets, as one of the benefits of a platelet-based product is that platelets do not contain nuclei, and therefore, cannot divide or carry genetic information. While the companys Induced Pluripotent Stem Cell-Derived Human Platelet Program received a great deal of media coverage in late 2012, including being awarded the December 2012 honor of being named one of the 10 Ideas that Will Shape the Yearby New Scientist Magazine,[178] unfortunately the company did not succeed in moving the concept through to clinical testing in 2013.

Nonetheless, Astellas is clearly continuing to develop Ocatas pluripotent stem cell technologies involving embryonic stem cells (ESCs) and induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS cells). In a November 2015 presentation by Astellas President and CEO, Yoshihiko Hatanaka, he indicated that the company will aim to develop an Ophthalmic Disease Cell Therapy Franchise based around its embryonic stem cell (ESC) and induced pluripotent stem cell (iPS cell) technology. [19]

Footnotes [1] (2014). About CDI. Available at: Web. 1 Apr. 2015. [2] Ibid. [3] Takahashi K, Yamanaka S (August 2006).Induction of pluripotent stem cells from mouse embryonic and adult fibroblast cultures by defined factors.Cell126(4): 66376. [4] 2012 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine Press Release. Nobel Media AB 2013. Web. 7 Feb 2014. Available at: Web. 1 Apr. 2015. [5] Striklin, D (Jan 13, 2014). Three Companies Banking on Regenerative Medicine. Wall Street Cheat Sheet. Retrieved Feb 1, 2014 from, [6] Striklin, D (2014). Three Companies Banking on Regenerative Medicine. Wall Street Cheat Sheet [Online]. Available at: Web. 1 Apr. 2015. [7] Cellular Dynamics International (July 30, 2013). Cellular Dynamics International Announces Closing of Initial Public Offering [Press Release]. Retrieved from [8],. Cellular Dynamics Manufactures Cgmp HLA Superdonor Stem Cell Lines To Enable Cell Therapy With Genetic Matching (NASDAQ:ICEL). N.p., 2015. Web. 7 Mar. 2015. [9] Ibid. [10],. Cellular Dynamics | Mycell Products. N.p., 2015. Web. 7 Mar. 2015. [11]Sirenko, O. et al. Multiparameter In Vitro Assessment Of Compound Effects On Cardiomyocyte Physiology Using Ipsc Cells.Journal of Biomolecular Screening18.1 (2012): 39-53. Web. 7 Mar. 2015. [12],. Prevention Of -Amyloid Induced Toxicity In Human Ips Cell-Derived Neurons By Inhibition Of Cyclin-Dependent Kinases And Associated Cell Cycle Events. N.p., 2015. Web. 7 Mar. 2015. [13],. HER2-Targeted Liposomal Doxorubicin Displays Enhanced Anti-Tumorigenic Effects Without Associated Cardiotoxicity. N.p., 2015. Web. 7 Mar. 2015. [14] Cellular Dynamics International, Inc. Fujifilm Holdings To Acquire Cellular Dynamics International, Inc.. GlobeNewswire News Room. N.p., 2015. Web. 7 Apr. 2015. [15] Ibid. [16]Cyranoski, David. Japanese Woman Is First Recipient Of Next-Generation Stem Cells. Nature (2014): n. pag. Web. 6 Mar. 2015. [17] Advanced Cell Technologies (Feb 11, 2011). Advanced Cell and Colleagues Report Therapeutic Cells Derived From iPS Cells Display Early Aging [Press Release]. Available at: [18] Advanced Cell Technology (Dec 20, 2012). New Scientist Magazine Selects ACTs Induced Pluripotent Stem (iPS) Cell-Derived Human Platelet Program As One of 10 Ideas That Will Shape The Year [Press Release]. Available at: Web. 9 Apr. 2015. [19] Astellas Pharma (2015). Acquisition of Ocata Therapeutics New Step Forward in Ophthalmology with Cell Therapy Approach. Available at: Web. 29 Jan. 2017.

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Market Players Developing iPS Cell Therapies

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Lipid nanoparticles for gene therapy — ScienceDaily – Science Daily

25 years have passed since the publication of the first work on solid lipid nanoparticles (SLNs) and nanostructured lipid carriers (NLCs) as a system for delivering drugs. So the European Journal of Pharmaceutics and Biopharmaceutics has prepared a special edition for which it asked the PharmaNanoGene group of the UPV/EHU-University of the Basque Country to produce a piece of work reviewing the application of SLNs and NLCs in gene therapy since the group’s significant contributions made in this area have been included in various international scientific publications.

Lipid nanoparticles (SLNs and NLCs) are regarded as highly promising systems for delivering nucleic acids in gene therapy. Until now, viral systems have been the most effective method for delivering genetic matter but they pose significant safety problems. “Non-viral vectors, including SLNs and NLCs, are less effective but much safer even though their effectiveness has increased significantly in recent years,” pointed out Alicia Rodrguez, Mara ngeles Solins and Ana del Pozo, authors of the article published in the European Journal of Pharmaceutics and Biopharmaceutics.

This review article describes these systems and their main advantages in gene therapy, such as their capacity to protect the gene material against degradation, to facilitate cell and nucleus internalisation and to boost the transfection process. “What is more, the nanoparticles are made up of biocompatible, biodegradable materials, they are easy to produce on a large scale, they can be sterilised and freeze-dried and are very stable both in biological fluids and in storage,” explained the researchers.

This review also includes the main diseases in which lipid nanoparticles are being applied, generally on the preclinical level: degenerative diseases of the retina, infectious diseases, metabolic disorders, and cancer, among others. “At PharmaNanoGene we are working on the design and evaluation of SLNs for treating some of these diseases using gene therapy. We are studying the relationship between formulation factors and the processes involving the intracellular internalisation and disposition of the genetic material that condition the effectiveness of the vectors and which is essential in the optimisation process, and for the first time we have demonstrated the capacity of SLNs to induce the synthesis of a protein following their intravenous administration in mice,” they stressed.

The publication also includes other pieces of work by this UPV/EHU research group on the application of SLNs in the treatment of rare diseases, such as chromosome-X-linked juvenile retinoschisis, a disorder in which the retina becomes destructured due to a deficiency in the protein retinoschisin. “One of the main achievements of our studies in this field has been to demonstrate, also for the first time, the capacity of a non-viral vector to transfect the retina of animals lacking the gene that encodes this protein and partially restore its structure, showing than non-viral gene therapy is a viable, promising therapeutic tool for treating degenerative disorders of the retina,” specified the researchers.

The application of SLNs for treating Fabry disease, a serious, multi-system metabolic disorder of a hereditary nature, has also been studied at PharmaNanoGene. “This is a monogenic disease linked to the X-chromosome which is caused by various gene mutations in the gene that encodes the a-galactosidase A (a-Gal A) enzyme. In cell models of this disease we have demonstrated the capacity of SLNs to induce the synthesis of a-Gal A.” They have also reviewed the application of lipid nanoparticles to the treatment of infectious diseases: “Our work in this field shows that SLNs with RNA interference are capable of inhibiting a replicon of the hepatitis C virus in vitro, which was used as proof-of-concept of the use of SLN-based vectors as a new therapeutic strategy for treating this infection and others related to it.”

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Human genome editing shouldn’t be used for enhancement yet – New Scientist

CRISPR: gene editing made easy

Ella Maru Studio/SPL

By Jessica Hamzelou

While gene editing is already saving lives, for now, the technique shouldnt be used to edit embryos or create changes that will be passed on through the generations. So say the authors of a new report on editing the human genome.

However, such germline editing could be permitted in the future, if properly regulated and with public approval, concludes the report. It was compiled by the Committee on Human Genome Editing, a group of 22 researchers, lawyers and ethicists.

Gene therapy isnt new, but the development of the CRISPR Cas-9 technique has made it much easier to change a genome. The technique enables researchers to specifically target a region of DNA and add or remove genes both a useful tool for research, and a technique that can treat diseases in people.

But gene editing treatments are not without some risk. Theres a chance, for instance, that a therapy will have off-target effects, changing other genes. The risks will depend on the disorder and the treatment, and regulators must weigh up the risks against treatment benefits on a case-by-case basis, the authors say.

The risks are higher when it comes to germline editing. Beyond off-target effects, theres a chance that attempts to perform gene editing on an embryo will create a mosaic of treated and untreated cells. Its the most common problem in mouse studies, says Robin Lovell-Badge of the Francis Crick Institute in London, who co-authored the report.

Lovell-Badge and his colleagues concluded that germline editing could be performed in humans, but only after much more research to minimise the risks and weigh them up against any benefits. Even then, the public must have a say, and any trials must be performed under strict oversight.

The report is also not in favour of gene editing techniques to enhance people, or create designer babies but only for the time being. Its the thing that worries people the most, because it is felt to be unfair, says Lovell-Badge. Its the same as using drugs to cheat.

But the boundary between treatment and enhancement is often blurred. If you were able to lower a persons cholesterol for example, where would the cut-off be? In the future, some aspects of enhancement might be considered acceptable, says Lovell-Badge. We may need to modify aspects of our physiology to adapt to climate change, but thats being speculative, he says. Were not saying it should never be done but not now.

Based on what we already know about genes and health, it might be possible to boost a persons muscle mass, for instance, using gene editing. But for many other features including intelligence hundreds or thousands of genes are involved. Using gene editing to enhance these features isnt currently feasible.

Read more: Why banning CRISPR gene editing would be unnecessarily cautious

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Human genome editing shouldn’t be used for enhancement yet – New Scientist

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Radical Life Extension Is Already Here, But We’re Doing it …

We’ve already tacked three decades onto the average lifespan of an American, so what’s wrong with adding another few decades?

A centenarian riding his bike in Long Beach, California (Reuters).

So far as we know, the last hundred years have been the most radical period of life extension in all of human history. At the turn of the twentieth century, life expectancy for Americans was just over 49 years; by 2010, that number had risen to 78.5 years, mostly on account of improved sanitation and basic medicine. But life extension doesn’t always increase our well-being, especially when all that’s being extended is decrepitude. There’s a reason that Ponce de Leon went searching for the fountain of youth—if it were the fountain of prolonged dementia and arthritis he may not have bothered.

Over the past twenty years, biologists have begun to set their sights on the aging process itself, in part by paying close attention to species like the American Lobster, which, despite living as long as fifty years, doesn’t seem to age much at all. Though some of this research has shown promise, it’s not as though we’re on the brink of developing a magical youth potion. Because aging is so biologically complex, encompassing hundreds of different processes, it’s unlikely that any one technique will add decades of youth to our lives. Rather, the best we can hope for is a slow, incremental lengthening of our “youth-span,” the alert and active period of our lives.

Not everyone is thrilled by the prospect of radical life extension. As funding for anti-aging research has exploded, bioethicists have expressed alarm, reasoningthat extreme longevity could have disastrous social effects. Some argue that longer life spans will mean stiffer competition for resources, or a wider gap between rich and poor. Others insist that the aging process is important because it gives death a kind of time release effect, which eases us into accepting it. These concerns are well founded. Life spans of several hundred years are bound to be socially disruptive in one way or another; if we’re headed in that direction, it’s best to start teasing out the difficulties now.

But there is another, deeper argument against life extension—the argument from evolution. Its proponents suggest that we ought to avoid tinkering with any human trait borne of natural selection. Doing so, they argue, could have unforeseen consequences, especially given that natural selection has such a sterling engineering track record. If our bodies grow old and die, the thinking goes, then there must be a good reason, even if we don’t understand it yet. Nonsense, says Bennett Foddy, a philosopher (and flash game developer!) from Oxford, who has written extensively about the ethics of life extension. “We think about aging as being a natural human trait, and it is natural, but it’s not something that was selected for because it was beneficial to us.” Foddy told me. “There is this misconception that everything evolution provides is beneficial to individuals and that’s not correct.”

Foddy has thought long and hard about the various objections to life extension and, for the most part, has found them wanting. This is our conversation about those objections, and about the exciting new biology of aging.

Foddy: The reason I present it that way, is that there’s always this background moral objection in enhancement debates, where a technology is perceived to be new, and by virtue of being new, is depicted as threatening or even strange. That goes for everything from genetic engineering to steroids to cloning and on and on. I think it’s always worth contextualizing these things in terms of the normal. So with human cloning it’s worth remembering that it’s exactly the same as twinning. With steroids, it’s worth remembering that in many ways it’s not that different from training and exercise, and also that people have been taking testosterone since ancient times. I think this way you can kind of resist the idea that something is wrong just because it’s strange.

When you’re talking about medicines that help us live longer, it’s important to realize how much we’ve already accomplished. In the last 150 years or so, we’ve doubled our life span from 40 to 80 years, and that’s primarily through the use of things you can characterize as being medical science. In some cases it’s clear that we’re talking about medical enhancement—vaccines, for instance, or surgical hygiene and sterilization. And then more broadly there are other, non-medical things like the sanitation of the water supply and the pasteurization of milk and cheese. All of these things have saved an enormous amount of life.

It used to be that people would die of an infectious disease; they’d be struck down when they were very young or when they were older and their immune system was weak. Now almost nobody in the first world dies of infectious disease; we’ve basically managed to completely eradicate infectious disease through medical science. If, at the outset of this process, you asked people if we should develop technologies that would make us live until we’re 80 on average instead of until we’re 40, people might have expressed these same kind of misgivings that you hear today. They might have said, “Oh no that would be way too long, that would be unnatural, let’s not do that.”

So, in a way, we shouldn’t view it as being extremely strange to develop these medicines, but in another sense we’re at a new stage now, because now we’re at the forefront of having medicines that actually address the aging process. And that’s what I’m interested in talking about—the kinds of medicines that actually slow down the aging process, or at least some of the mechanisms of aging.

Can you explain how senescence, the biological process of aging, is unevenly distributed across species?

Foddy: There are different animals that are affected differently by various processes of aging. In my paper I go into the case of the American Lobster, which lives about as long as a human being. When you dissect one of these lobsters at the end of its life, its body doesn’t show much in the way of weakening or wasting like you see in a human body of advanced age. That suggests that aging can evolve differently in different species. Lobsters seem to have evolved an adaptation against the cellular lifespan. There’s this phenomenon where the DNA in our cells basically unravel after they’ve divided a certain amount of times, but lobsters have this enzyme that helps them replenish their telomeres—the caps that hold DNA together.

That’s one of the reasons why lobsters don’t seem to undergo aging in the same way that we do. Other species give off an antioxidant chemical in their bodies that prevent these oxidizing free radicals in our bodies from breaking us down. That’s why doctor’s recommend that you have a certain amount of antioxidants—some species are really good at producing those naturally.

There is this idea that when you’re evolving you make certain trade-offs. Lobsters and clams don’t really move around a lot; their bodies move and grow very slowly and one of the upsides of that is that they’ve been able to invest their evolutionary chips, so to speak, in resisting the aging process. Human beings, on the other hand, have to move around quite a lot. We have giant brains and we have to be able to run away from saber tooth tigers. As a result we have bodies that burn a lot of calories, and so that’s where our chips are invested. It’s just a difference in our evolutionary environment and that’s why we’ve evolved to live and die the way we do. But it could have easily not turned out that way—that’s the point I really want to make.

What are the current biological limits on our human life span, or our human “youth span,” as you call it—the time that we’re able to live as young, vibrant, reproducing individuals?

Foddy: The sky is sort of the limit there. There won’t be a magic pill that gives us infinite youth, but over time there will probably be different technologies that allow you a few extra years of youth. We think of aging as being a unitary thing, but it’s made up of hundreds of different processes. So, one of the different things we think about, for example, is dementia, the state where your brain sort of wastes away. Now, if we discover a way of reversing that process, or slowing that process, that would be one dimension where we no longer age, where our minds will stay youthful for longer. It’s also possible that we might be able to find a way of stopping people’s muscles from wasting away as they get older.

Nothing is going to be super dramatic, but there will be a point where you’ll look back a hundred years and notice that people used to get really kind of feeble and after awhile they weren’t capable of really thinking or processing information anymore, and they had to go into a home and they had to be looked after and nursed for a time. And that will seem very old-fashioned and very barbaric, but I very much doubt it will happen at a moment in time where we suddenly realize that some magic pill has exponentially extended our youth. Part of that’s because we’re not exactly clear what aging is. We’ve identified a whole range of processes, but there ere still a whole lot of arguments in the scientific community about what is really responsible for aging, and which of the processes are subsidiary to other processes.

Have we glimpsed, even theoretically, ways that we might add to that youth-span. What are the bleeding edge technologies that might allow us to overcome aging?

Foddy: I’m not a scientist, so I don’t want to weigh in too heavily on somebody’s body of research. We’ve seen promising results looking at the lobsters and we’ve seen promising results with antioxidants, even aspirin, but as I said these things are going to be incremental. You meet a lot of people in the scientific community that are true believers and they’re expecting a kind of a radical thing. And it’s not as though we never have a radical thing in medicine, but what we have more frequently is incremental advances.

Cancer is a great example of the kind of incremental progress I’m talking about. In 1970, your odds of surviving 5 years after you’ve were diagnosed with certain kinds of cancer were slim; those chances have increased substantially. But we still react to the idea of getting cancer as though it were 1970 because we don’t really process incremental changes. Like with chemotherapy, they just change out one or two drugs every year based on trials that show that the new drug is 2 percent more effective than the previous drug. That’s constantly going on, but it really isn’t announced. Instead, we get the occasional story in the news about a miracle cure for cancer, and it always turns out not to be as good as they had hoped and everyone begins to get disillusioned about science and the value of medical progress. But when you run the comparisons across decades, you see something much more dramatic.

You give an interesting account of how the aging process evolved in humans. You argue that aging is not the result of an optimizing process, but that instead it’s a byproduct of an optimizing process. Can you explain why that difference is so important?

Foddy: I should say, first of all, that this is not original to me; this is very well established in evolutionary biology. We have a number of genetic traits that we developed because they were advantageous from the perspective of natural selection—that is, they helped us to survive and reproduce. People that had the gene for that trait had the ability to reproduce more than people that didn’t have it. It’s easy to imagine that every gene that we have is selected because it gave a positive advantage in this way, but it turns out there are trade-offs. A number of the processes of aging seem to have arisen because our bodies were not doing enough maintenance, because they were busy doing something else. The misconception that people often have is that any trade-off that we have is going to be directly beneficial, directly advantageous. But that’s not right.

The second thing to say is that aging usually happens to an organism after it reaches menopause. Things that happen after menopause are much less interesting in terms of evolution, because they have much less of an effect. If I’ve already reached the age where I can’t reproduce, then aging that takes effect at this point in my life is not going to affect whether or not I reproduce. The game is sort of already over for me. As a result, natural selection doesn’t tend to weed out genes that take effect after you’ve reached the age of menopause. So, there is this idea that over time you can amass genes in your genome that have nothing to do with survival or not surviving, because they only activate after you reach a certain age. So, over time, some of these are going to be good genes and some of them are going to be bad. It’s going to be this kind of mix, but it’s certainly not going to be the case that they’re on balance beneficial. We’ve got hundreds or thousands of genes that don’t start to harm us until we reach old age, and those genes are responsible for a lot of what actually constitutes aging. So, in this sense, we think about aging as being a natural human activity or a human trait—and it is natural, but it’s not something that was selected because it was beneficial to us. There is this misconception that everything evolution provides has to be beneficial to individuals and that’s not correct. “There is this misconception that everything evolution provides has to be beneficial to individuals and that’s not correct.”

One defense of aging that your paper takes quite seriously is the argument from evolution, which was first put forth by Frances Fukuyama. Fukuyama claims that we should resist the temptation to tinker with any characteristic that we have been given through the process of natural selection. He argues that evolution can be relied upon to produce good results and that we ought not to mess with the fruit of its processes. What’s wrong with this view?

Foddy: Fukuyama has this idea that evolution is very complicated, which is true. We don’t always understand why we’ve evolved to be a certain way. Sometimes it looks like something is useful, but in fact it’s performing some kind of role that we don’t know much about. Fukuyama is also correct that sometimes we interfere with complicated biological systems without really understanding what the effects will be, and that then we wind up with some unwanted effect. That’s all true.

The thing that I disagree with him about is his presumption that if we have a trait that’s evolved, that it must be beneficial to us in some way, and that we have some good reason for allowing that trait stick around. Now he’s not talking strictly about aging; his book discusses all kinds of intervention on the human organism. But, when it comes to aging, his argument can’t even succeed on its own merits, because we know for a fact that aging is not the sort of thing that is produced by natural selection in the kind of positive way that he is talking about. He says it’s not always easy to do nature one better, but that’s not what we’re doing when we’re combating aging. We’re not trying to do nature one better, because nature doesn’t care that we grow old and die. This is neglect, evolutionary neglect. We shouldn’t think about it as interfering with the sort of complex ecological balance in the way that he’s worried about.

Now that’s not to say that our current mode of life extension is ideal. Some of the biggest strains on our resources stem from the fact that populations are getting older as birthrate’s go down, especially in the first world. Aging societies are spending more and more on nursing, and so I think that it makes sense to pursue a youth-extending medicine that would diminish the number of years that we have to spend in nursing homes. You could imagine us living more like the lobster, where we still live to be about 80-85, but we’re alert and active until we drop dead. In that scenario we wouldn’t have this giant burden where the state has to support and pay to nurse people that are unable to look after themselves anymore.

Now, it has to be said that the story of medicine and medical progress in the past 50 years has not been heading that way. If anything, we’re extending the number of years that we spend needing nursing. We’ve gotten good at keeping people alive once they’re fairly decrepit. And that sort of guarantees that you have the maximum drain on resources, while also producing the kind of minimum amount of human benefit. You get to be 90 years old and your hip goes out, and we give you a massively expensive hip replacement, but we don’t do things to prevent your body from wasting away and becoming corroded when you’re 20, 30 or 40.

There’s this great Greek myth, the myth of Tithonus, that always comes to mind. Tithonus was a mortal who was in love with Eos, the goddess of the dawn. Eos didn’t want Tithonus to grow old and die, so she went to Zeus to ask for eternal life, which was granted. But, she forgot to ask for eternal youth, and so Tithonus just gets older and older and more decrepit, and eventually he can’t really move, and then finally he turns into a grasshopper in the end. That’s sort of the course that we’re on with our current approach to medicine and life extension.

Some ethicists have pointed out that death is one of the major forces for equality in the world, and that welfare disparities will be worsened if some people can afford to postpone old age, or avoid it altogether, while others are unable to. What do you say to them?

Foddy: I think that’s right. I mean there are concerns whenever we develop any kind of medicine or any kind of technology—the concern that these things are going to widen welfare gaps. The story of industrialization is that the people who could afford the cars and machines and factories in Western countries were able to produce a lot more and generate a lot more wealth than people in poorer agrarian economies. That’s a serious issue. It’s probably true that if people in the first world were, through some sort of medical intervention, able to live to be 200 years old and people in Bangladesh were still dying at a relatively young age, that would tend to widen the distance in personal wealth.

And look this has already happened. It’s already unfair that I will on average live to be 80 and yet, if I were born before some arbitrary date, or in some other place, I would live much less longer. Those things are unfair and it’s worth worrying about them, but I don’t think the correct response is to hold off on the science. It’s better if everybody can eventually get this medicine, because living a long time is not a positional good, it’s an absolute good. It would be great if everybody could live to be 150, because that would benefit every single person. It’s not a good that benefits you only if other people are worse off. When you have goods like that you should try to develop them and then you should worry separately about making sure that they get delivered to people in poorer areas, whether it’s through government aid or massive production.

Another objection to the elimination of aging is this idea that the aging process makes an elderly person’s death less painful for the survivors around her, because it gradually forces people to stop relying on her, and forces her to gradually remove herself from society. You call this the argument from psycho-social history.

Foddy: This is Leon Kass’ argument. He thinks aging is just fantastic for this reason because it helps us to let go of somebody. And of course it’s true that when people grow old, they become less useful to society, and more socially difficult, which places burdens on people. And in a lot of cases we respond to this by cutting them out of our lives, essentially. People get older, they move into a nursing home, and we see them less and less, and then when they finally die everyone’s like, “well it was expected.” Advanced age sort of helps us prepare emotionally for letting go of people, but it seems to me that it’s not good for the person who gets old.

Now, what would the world be like if people dropped dead in good health when they reach a certain age? It would be very sad, but on the upside the person would’ve had 20 or 30 years of additional integration into society and we would’ve been able to spend more time with them. I’ve got to say that I would’ve enjoyed my grandmother’s presence a lot more if she’d been able to run around and to play and work and be part of society in her extremely advanced age.

Nick Bostrom has said that people have fallen victim to a kind of Stockholm syndrome when it comes to aging. The idea being that because aging has always been an insurmountable obstacle for humanity, that we have dignified it more than it deserves, that we contort ourselves logically and rhetorically to defend it precisely because it is so inescapable. Does that sound right to you?

Foddy: Yes, I think that’s right, although Nick draws conclusions that are a bit more extreme than I would tend to draw. I think that we do have a tendency to kind of rationalize things that we don’t think we can do anything about. This is a perfectly healthy attitude if you really can’t do anything about the aging process—it’s better to accept it and kind of talk about it as being a natural part of life, not something to rail against or feel bad about. It’s something that everybody goes through. Now if it did so happen that we could discover a medicine that completely prevents that process from taking place, we would have to re-evaluate at that stage and realize that we’ve done some emotional rationalization here and the conditions for it no longer apply. We no longer need to comfort ourselves with the inevitability of death if it’s not actually inevitable.

Having said that, death is, in fact, inevitable. Even if we solve every medical problem, you still have a 1 in 1,000 chance of dying every year by some sort of accident. So, on those odds you could probably expect to live to be about 1,000. I don’t think it’s ever going to be the case that we will live forever. It’s not even going to be 1,000. We’re probably talking about living to be 120 or 150 or somewhere around there, but to me the idea that we have to accept living to 80 rather than 120 is bizarre given that it’s not so long ago that we lived to 40.

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Radical Life Extension Is Already Here, But We’re Doing it …

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Orbital ATK Sues DARPA Over Satellite-Repairing Robots | Inverse – Inverse

Private space technology company Orbital ATK sued the Pentagons Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) last Tuesday over plans to give a rival firm a contract to build satellite-repairing robots for a government-funded mission.

The Virginia-based company filed a complaint with the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, asking court to halt DARPAs work on the Robotic Servicing of Geosynchronous Satellites (RSGS) mission, which would promote and develop robotic satellite repair technology.

DARPA chose rocket manufacturer Space Systems Loral (SSL), which is a subsidiary of Canadas MDA Corp., to award a $15 million contract for building robots for repairing government and commercial satellites.

It clearly demonstrates the success of our strategy to bring the benefits of our commercial business to a broader audience and to grow our business with U.S. government work, Howard Lance, CEO of SSL MDA Holdings, said in a statement last Thursday.

According to Jared Adams, DARPAs chief of media relations, the RSGS public-private effort is a first for DARPA in the space-servicing domain, and DARPAs selection of SSL has been submitted for review by the Defense Departments Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics.

In the lawsuit, Orbital ATK argued that DARPA intends to give away this technology to a foreign-owned company for that companys sole commercial use. In addition, Orbital ATK said RSGS would waste hundreds of millions of U.S. taxpayer dollars to develop robotic satellite servicing technology for which DARPA has admitted there is no present U.S. government need and that NASA and the U.S. private sector specifically the plaintiffs are already developing.

On the other hand, DARPA says RSGS would lower the risks and costs of operating in orbit.

Servicing on orbit could provide significant cost savings compared to current practices and a major advantage to the security of both commercial and Government space assets, Gordon Roesler, DARPAs program manager for RSGS, said in a statement last Thursday.

RSGS, Orbital ATK argues, directly competes with Orbital ATKs Mission Extension Vehicle, which is in development and provides life extension services to satellites. The company argues this violates the 2010 National Space Policy, which says that the government must refrain from conducting United States government activities that preclude, discourage, or compete with U.S. commercial space activities.

Currently, the Mission Extension Vehicle is backed by at least $200 million from investors, and Orbital ATK had set up a production facility in Northern Virginia. The company planned to launch the Mission Extension Vehicle next year.

In the past, Orbital ATK has worked with the U.S. government and NASA on various space projects. On Monday, the company announced that the U.S. Air Force awarded it a contract to provide support services for a multipurpose satellite.

This isnt the first time DARPA was asked to stop RSGS. Two weeks ago, three Republican members of Congress wrote a letter to the Pentagon saying RSGS violates the National Space Policy because its competing with a private company.

We urge you to promptly review this program to ensure its compliance with the 2010 National Space Policy, the letter to DARPA Acting Director Steven Walker said. As Acting Director, you should stop any further action on RSGS until the review is completed.

Walker replied saying that the commercial systems under development would not be as capable as RSGS, and he reviewed the mission, saying that it complied with the National Space Policy.

DARPA also said that a NASA satellite repair program called Restore-L does not have the same degree of autonomous control as RSGS. Restore-L was also awarded to Space Systems Loral and is planned to launch by 2020.

Photos via Flickr / NASA Johnson

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Orbital ATK Sues DARPA Over Satellite-Repairing Robots | Inverse – Inverse

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What’s in store: Chronos –

Chronos (3200 N. Arnoult Road, Metairie, 504-267-4549; is locally owned and operated by Drs. Mace Scott and Miguel Aguilera. Scott and Aguilera are daily fixtures at Chronos, as is Dr. Shannon Pickens, a cosmetic dermatologist. All three share the philosophy that mental and physical health require a multi-tiered approach focused on improving well-being through exercise and propernutrition.

Chronos opened in Metairie in 2013. Scott, an ER physician, noticed that many of the patients he treated could have avoided a trip to the hospital if preventive measures had been taken. This, and personally noticing the effects of aging on his own body, motivated him to create a place that addressed these issues.

“We want to help people have a better quality of life,” Scott says. “Our goal is to help improve your life, improve your health and improve your overall well-being.” Chronos incorporates a medical spa, a day spa and a fitness facility all under one roof. Chronos’ mission is to help clients look better, feel healthier and be happier through preventive care.

Mace challenges the belief that having less energy and becoming softer around the middle is a natural part of the aging process. He and his team offer services that minimize the physical effects of aging, such as hormone replacement therapy (HRT), a medical procedure that treats hormone deficiencies associated with perimenopause and post menopause in women and andropause in men. As men and women age, their hormones often have unexpected effects on their moods, energy levels, libidos and bodies. HRT rebalances hormones that were once abundant in youth and can help enhance quality of life.

Chronos also offers a range of cosmetic non-surgical treatments. Fillers like Botox, Restylane and Dysport are available, as well as body sculpting services like Cool Sculpting and BodyFX, non-invasive treatments that can help reduce fatty deposits in problem spots like the thighs, chin and stomach area, with no down time. Chronos also offers state-of-the-art facials like intense pulsed light (IPL) photofacials, Ultherapy, Forma and Fractora treatments, microneedling and HydraFacials, in addition to other spa services such as massages, manicures and pedicures.

Chronos recently launched its EMPower fitness series. EMPower helps participants build up their endurance and strength through a rigorous 60-minute workout that incorporates boxing and interval training while also building core strength. Chronos’ fitness center is open daily, and offers boot camp, spinning and yoga classes, as well as one-on-one personal training and individualized workout plans.

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What’s in store: Chronos –

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