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CONTENTS Issue #508
Tackling issues in cross-border reproductive care
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Tackling issues in cross-border reproductive care
18 May 2009 - by Professor Eric Blyth
What we currently know about cross-border reproductive services derives primarily from anecdotal patient accounts shared on the Internet and reports provided by journalists - often working 'undercover' and posing as patients. The nefarious character of some services under investigation, alleging illegal activities (1,2) and exploitation of young women as egg donors... [Read More]
'Hero' gene variant prolongs life for people with motor neuron disease
15 May 2009 - by Heidi Colleran
By Heidi Colleran: An international team lead by UK researchers at the Centre for Neurodegenerative Research (CNR) at Kings College, London, have discovered a genetic variation that prolongs survival in people affected with motor neuron disease (MND). In a study of over 5,000 people in six countries - almost half of... [Read More]
Household chemicals could threaten male reproductive health
17 May 2009 - by Dr Sarah Spain
A report written by leading reproductive biologist Professor Richard Sharpe from the Medical Research Council in Edinburgh, UK, has called attention to the dangers of chemicals present in household consumer products. The report concludes that exposure to a cocktail of hormone disrupting chemicals in our environment, particularly... [Read More]
China introduces new regulations for stem cell therapies
17 May 2009 - by Dr Nadeem Shaikh
The Chinese Ministry of Health is to introduce new regulations governing the use of stem cells in clinical therapies, according to the US journal Nature. They will come into force from 1 May 2009, and will place stem cell injections in the same Category 3 class of... [Read More]
Hope for new prostate cancer test
17 May 2009 - by Lorna Stewart
Screening the genetic material present in patients' urine could distinguish between aggressive from dormant prostate cancers, suggests a study published this month in the British Journal of Cancer. The research paper reports pilot findings from 11 prostate cancer patients and may provide new hope for the 34,000... [Read More]
Oestrogen link to stronger female immune system
17 May 2009 - by Adam Fletcher
The role of oestrogen as the primary female sex hormone, regulating both the menstrual cycle and the menopause, has been understood for nearly a century. However, a new study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences describes a novel role for the hormone... [Read More]
Controversy over 'better' middle-class genes comment
17 May 2009 - by Dr Rebecca Robey
Chris Woodhead, the former UK Chief Inspector of Schools, has caused controversy by suggesting that middle-class children have 'better' genes when it comes to intellect and so will inevitably do better in school than children from lower socio-economic backgrounds. Speaking in an interview with the Guardian newspaper... [Read More]
500 Fivers Appeal: BioNews needs you!
18 May 2009 - by Sarah Norcross
BioNews is published by the Progress Educational Trust a small UK registered charity which battles for funding to keep BioNews in operation and free of charge. Back in January we launched the 500 Fivers Appeal to coincide with the publication of... [Read More]
A gene variant affects ability to quit smoking during pregnancy
18 May 2009 - by Dr Charlotte Maden
A common genetic variant has been identified that may help explain why some mothers-to-be find it harder to quit smoking when pregnant than others. The research, carried out in the UK, is published in the journal Human Molecular Genetics. Smoking during pregnancy can cause many problems for... [Read More]
Medical Research Council spends £7 million on new genetics research equipment
18 May 2009 - by Dr Will Fletcher
The UK's Medical Research Council (MRC) has given three regional 'genetics hubs' over £7 million in funding so they can purchase the latest cutting-edge equipment which can read large amounts of DNA quickly, cheaply and accurately. The high-throughput sequencing (HTS) hubs will be created in Scotland, and... [Read More]

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