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Issue 636 (05 December 2011)

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Welcome to BioNews by email, published by the Progress Educational Trust, providing you with news, comment and reviews on genetics, assisted conception, embryo/stem cell research and related areas. 

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Progress Educational Trust Conference: Introduction to the embryo and its out of body experience
05 December 2011 - by Dr Rebecca Robey
Progress Educational Trust (PET)'s annual conference, 2011, 'The Best Possible Start in Life: The Robust and Responsive Embryo', started with two fantastic sessions chaired by Dr Virginia Bolton, consultant embryologist at the assisted conception unit at Guy's Hospital, London, UK.... [Read More]
Can solidarity inform bioethics? Reflections on a concept and implications for biobanks
05 December 2011 - by Professor Barbara Prainsack and Dr Alena Buyx
What do research biobanks, social media and the NHS have in common?... [Read More]

News Digest

Brain cells from embryos: two successful mouse implant studies
05 December 2011 - by George Frodsham
Two separate studies have successfully transplanted neurons into the brains of mice. The transplanted neurons are able to send and receive electrical impulses, and can be used to compensate for faulty brain cells, restoring normal function. Both studies sourced the transplanted neurons from embryos – mouse embryos in one case, human embryonic stem cells were used in the other... [Read More]
Sperm counts drop out near laptops using WiFi
05 December 2011 - by Luciana Strait
Ejaculated sperm has been shown to be significantly damaged by prolonged exposure to a WiFi connected laptop. A study, published in the journal Fertility and Sterility, found that after four hours of exposure there was a significant decrease in sperm motility and an increase in sperm DNA fragmentation.... [Read More]
Vitamins improve pregnancy rates of subfertile women in small study
05 December 2011 - by Dr Caroline Hirst
Women receiving fertility treatment are more likely to become pregnant if they take multivitamin supplements, reports a UK pilot study... [Read More]
US Court of Appeals rules stem cell donors can be paid
05 December 2011 - by Dr Mary Yarwood
A ruling from a US federal appeals court means that blood stem cell donors may now receive a form of payment for their donation. A federal law that prohibits payment for organs does not apply to stem cells taken from bone marrow using a new method which avoids the extraction of bone marrow itself, the court said.... [Read More]
Gene rearrangements behind seven percent of all breast cancers identified
05 December 2011 - by Sarah Pritchard
Two gene rearrangements associated with prostate and lung cancer could also be behind five to seven percent of all breast cancers, according to US scientists... [Read More]
Cleft lip genetically repaired in mice
05 December 2011 - by Rosemary Paxman
Scientists have genetically repaired cleft lip and palate in mouse embryos in a breakthrough that could pave the way for new treatments of the common birth defects in humans... [Read More]
Heart stem cells discovered that can make bone and muscle
05 December 2011 - by Dr Louisa Petchey
Research in mice has shown the heart contains its own renewable source of stem cells which can differentiate into a variety of cell types. The research team in Australia hopes that one day the stem cells could be activated so a broken heart can be made to mend itself.... [Read More]
Innovative gene therapy protects mice from HIV infection
05 December 2011 - by Dr Tamara Hirsch
US scientists have induced long-lasting HIV protection in mice from a single injection. Their study, published in the journal Nature, uses gene therapy to stimulate production of antibodies against the virus... [Read More]
First genetic link to bone marrow cancer identified
05 December 2011 - by Dr Zara Mahmoud
Two new gene variants, which each increase the risk of bone marrow cancer by 30 percent, have been identified by scientists at the Institute for Cancer Research... [Read More]
First of three women in US 'baby-selling' ring sentenced
05 December 2011 - by Antony Blackburn-Starza
A former lawyer convicted of wire fraud and other charges after her involvement in a 'baby-selling' ring has been sentenced to five months imprisonment by a Californian court.... [Read More]


TV Review: Brave New World - Biology
05 December 2011 - by Rose Palmer
Breakthroughs in biology that 'will transform the resilience and strength of the human body' are the subject of the last episode of Stephen Hawking's brilliant series 'Brave New World'. In just under an hour 'Biology' takes the viewer on a whirlwind tour of some of the newest and most awe-inspiring technologies. We're talking cures for cancer, organ regeneration and experiments in longevity and heritability... [Read More]



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