Menopause dogma could be a myth

Defying half a century of conventional wisdom, scientists have discovered that female mammals can produce new eggs after birth. Until now it had always been thought that females were born with a limited number of eggs which are depleted with age.

But research on mice at the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston has shown that new follicles, the tiny sacs in which eggs grow, are being created well into adult life from stem cells. "These are basic biological findings that may change everything in our field" says Dr Jonathan Tilly. "Although there is no way to say how long it may take for these finding to actually affect the care of patients, we are very excited."

Now that the egg stem cells have been identified, it may be possible to delay the ageing of the ovaries and to extend female fertility and delay menopause. Eggs could also be created with therapeutic cloning. However, this development has yet to be confirmed… click here to read whole article and make comments





Save me from my doctors, says UK patient

A 44-year-old man with a degenerative brain condition has challenged official UK guidelines on withdrawing life-prolonging treatment. As a victim of cerebellar ataxia, Leslie Burke is already confined to a wheelchair and foresees that he will eventually be paralysed and unable to communicate even though he will be mentally competent. He fears that under General Medical Council guidelines his doctors could withhold food and water from him until he died.

Mr Burke's barrister argues that the guidelines could breach his right to life and his right to be spared inhuman and degrading treatment under the European convention on human rights, as well as his right to autonomy and his right to a fair hearing. The counsel for the GMC described the scenario painted by Mr Burke as unrealistic. click here to read whole article and make comments





Watching the watchdog

The UK bodies which regulate nurses and doctors have been hauled before the High Court for excessive leniency in two recent cases. A new government body, the Council for Regulation of Healthcare Professionals, has challenged a mere caution given to a nurse who ogled pornographic websites while at work in a children's ward and the acquittal of a doctor who had an inappropriate relationship with a patient. The Council was established last year to deal with extreme cases where the public interest in having a "clearly perverse" decision overturned outweighs the public interest in independent self-regulation. This is the first time that it has exercised its powers. click here to read whole article and make comments




IN BRIEF: Israeli surprise; Vatican appointment; Singapore sperm shortage; Australian IVF; stem cell

A scientist who tried to poison his wife and covered up his crime by lacing products on supermarket shelves with poison is teaching medical ethics at the University of Manchester in the UK. Paul Agutter, 57, was released from jail in 2002 after serving 7 years of a 12-year sentence. A few weeks ago he was engaged to teach philosophy and medical ethics for two hours a week at night school. click here to read whole article and make comments




Harvard scientists offer 17 stem cell lines for free

Douglas Melton Exasperated with US restrictions on embryonic stem cell research, one of the leading experts in the field, Douglas Melton, of Harvard University, and his colleagues have created 17 stem cell lines which they plan to give away to other laboratories. Melton says that the 17 lines were created with private funding from 344 IVF embryos which had developed for 3 to 5 days. He has also written a "cookbook" to help other scientists use his stem cells and create more lines.

In recent weeks restrictions imposed by President Bust, which allow federal funding only for stem cell lines approved before 9 August 2001, have become increasingly irritating. American scientists winced when South Koreans announced that they had cloned human embryos and created stem cell lines. "Federally funded scientists have to drive Model T's, while Korean scientists get to drive around in the newest Porsche," said Dr George Q. Daley, a Harvard researcher.… click here to read whole article and make comments





Harvard to sidestep Bush’s restrictions on stem cell research

shield of Harvard University Throwing its enormous financial clout and prestige behind embryonic stem cell research, Harvard University, one of the top US centres for biomedical research, has put a US$100 million stem cell centre on the drawing board. It will be built and operated with private funding so that it can bypass federal restrictions on embryonic stem cell research. "Harvard has the resources; Harvard has the breadth, and, frankly, Harvard has the responsibility to be taking up the slack that the government is leaving," says Dr George Q. Daley.

The proposed stem cell institute will work together with Harvard's other schools -- government, law, divinity and business -- to understand the implications of the new technology.

Harvard is not the only institution attempting to do research on embryos without government funding. Other private initiatives are under way at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the University of Minnesota and the University of California, San Francisco.… click here to read whole article and make comments





Bitter bioethicists link hands with angry scientists

Arthur Caplan US celebrity bioethicist Arthur Caplan has orchestrated a biting open letter to President George Bush after he sacked two supporters of therapeutic cloning from his Council on Bioethics. Caplan complains that the credibility of the Council has been "severely compromised" by reducing the diversity of ethical viewpoints. About 170 scientists and bioethicists signed the letter, including such prominent figures as the Australian philosopher Peter Singer and Ruth Macklin.

The letter may signal a trend towards political activism amongst American bioethicists. Coincidentally, Dr Caplan's letter appeared on the website of the American Journal of Bioethics (he is a board member) under an article calling upon the profession to act as "public intellectuals" who "play a prominent role in shaping public opinion on a variety of topics" by using the media skilfully.

The American Society for Cell Biology also denounced the sacking of its former president, Elizabeth Blackburn, an Australian, calling it a "Friday… click here to read whole article and make comments





Ignore wishes of relatives of organ donors, says Abbott

Australian Health Minister Tony Abbott says that relatives should not be able to override a person's wish to donate organs. "So many potential organ donors are lost because grieving relatives have got too much on their minds to say Yes... Once people are on the organ donor list there should be a presumption that their organs are available," he said. According to figures supplied by the David Hookes Foundation, the wishes of nearly half of registered organ donors are not respected by relatives. Mr Abbott says that reform of the Australian organ donor system is one his main priorities as minister.

Greens Senator Bob Brown, of Tasmania, supports an even more radical proposal for an opt-out system. Doctors would presume that everyone is a potential organ donor unless a person had expressly stated that he did not want to donate. However, University of Tasmania ethicist Christopher Newell said that organ donation should be a gift of life rather than a… click here to read whole article and make comments





More AIDS victims get transplants in US

American surgeons are becoming more willing to perform transplant operations for AIDS patients. The improving health and greater life expectancy of AIDS patients have meant that the greatest threat to their lives may be their failing organs rather than their disease. A federal government health agency and researchers at 17 US transplant centres have now launched a five-year study of 275 patients to examine what happens when HIV patients receive new livers or kidneys. About 100 such operations have already been done, and health insurance companies often agree to pay for them.

In the past transplant surgeons were reluctant to deal with HIV- infected patients because they felt that scarce organs should be given to people who would live longer. They also felt that medicines to suppress rejection might actually hasten the death of HIV patients. There were also fears that medical staff might become infected. However, with the development of better AIDS drugs, and increasing pressure from AIDS activists,… click here to read whole article and make comments





Green light for human tests with pesticides in US

A US federal government panel says that companies and government agencies can test the toxicity of pesticides or other substances on human, and potentially even children, as long as they meet high ethical and scientific standards. The decision by the National Research Council is the latest development in an on-again, off-again controversy over human tests. The head of the panel, James Childress, of the Institute for Practical Ethics at the University of Virginia, said that there was a public benefit in using the best available science.

In the tests, subjects are given levels of chemicals which will probably not harm them. The results will show regulators how much of a particular pesticide can be applied to crops and how close to harvest time.

Critics savaged the decision. "We thought that these issues were resolved 50 years ago after the Nuremberg trials, but the chemical industry continues its campaign to make it acceptable to use human guinea pigs to maximise [its]… click here to read whole article and make comments




Page 509 of 510 : ‹ First  < 507 508 509 510 > 

 
 Search BioEdge

 Subscribe to BioEdge newsletter
rss Subscribe to BioEdge RSS feed


 Be a fan of BioEdge on Facebook

 Best of the web