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CONTENTS Issue #531
From autism to Asperger's syndrome
Freezing eggs leads to 'scrambled generations'?
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From autism to Asperger's syndrome
23 October 2009 - by Sandy Starr
The Progress Educational Trust (PET) debate 'From Autism to Asperger's: Disentangling the Genetics and Sociology of the Autistic Spectrum' took place in the UK Houses of Parliament on the evening of 20 October 2009, two days before the Autism Bill received its third and final reading in the House of Lords.... [Read More]
Freezing eggs leads to 'scrambled generations'?
23 October 2009 - by Sarah Norcross
The Human Fertilisation and Embryology (Storage Period for Gametes and Embryos) Regulations 2009 came into force on 1 October 2009 under negative Parliamentary procedure. Soon after, however, a prayer was moved for the regulations to be annulled and a debate took place on 21 October 2009 in the House of Lords.... [Read More]
Relaxation helps the success of IVF
26 October 2009 - by Dr Will Fletcher
Reducing stress may increase fertility, a new study suggests. At a fertility centre in Boston, US, some women took part in a stress management program in parallel with their IVF treatment whilst others did not. It was found that the program had no effect on how many women conceived at the first try. However, women who failed at the first attempt and were trying to get pregnant a second time, whilst using the stress management techniques,experienced a 160... [Read More]
Overweight women risk their IVF chances
21 October 2009 - by Sarah Pritchard
Women who are overweight or obese have lower chances of successful IVF treatment, according to researchers reporting at the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) conference in Atlanta, US, this week. The researchers, from Michigan State University in the US, found that women who were defined as clinically obese were up to 35 per cent less likely to conceive and have a live baby, and twice as likely to have a stillbirth, than their lighter cou... [Read More]
Warning on self-test fertility kits
20 October 2009 - by Dr Rebecca Robey
Women have been warned against relying on 'over-the-counter' home fertility tests to gauge whether they can afford to delay starting a family. Scientists and doctors cautioned that such tests may provide false hope, encouraging women that they have several years of fertility left without looking at all the important factors.... [Read More]
'Octomum's' IVF doctor expelled from ASRM
20 October 2009 - by Antony Starza-Allen
The US fertility doctor responsible for transplanting six embryos into a woman who gave birth to octuplets last January has been struck off by the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) - although he is still able to practice as membership of the professional society is only voluntary.... [Read More]
Alcohol reduces IVF success
22 October 2009 - by Ben Jones
A study conducted by researchers at the Harvard Medical School, US, has suggested that consumption of alcohol may be detrimental to chances of success in IVF treatment. Consumption of just six units of alcohol a week by both partners reduced the probability of conception by 26 per cent. The study particularly singled out apparent detrimental effects to drinking white wine in women and drinking beer for the male partners. In those women whose partner dran... [Read More]
British scientists move closer to womb transplant
22 October 2009 - by Antony Starza-Allen
Doctors say the first successful womb transplant may be performed within two years. Research on rabbits has shown that it is possible to transplant a uterus and provide a reliable blood supply so that the organ lasts long enough to enable a pregnancy.... [Read More]
Fatal heart condition passed on by sperm donor
25 October 2009 - by Ben Jones
The American Medical Association has returned the issue of sperm donor screening to the public eye after publishing an article detailing the transmission of a rare and deadly heart defect to nine offspring of a registered sperm donor. The Los Angeles man (42), who is the genetic father of twenty-four children, was given a full medical check, along with tests for infectious diseases and provided a full medical history when he originally donated in the early 1990s but his genetic ... [Read More]
Epigenetic link to autism
25 October 2009 - by Dr Rebecca Robey
US scientists have identified a genetic trait that is strongly associated with autism. The genetic change does not involve a mutation within the DNA sequence of a gene but instead involves an alteration in the physical structure of the DNA which affects the way a gene is turned on and off. The researchers hope that the new findings will lead to novel ways to diagnose and treat autism.... [Read More]
Mutant gene conclusively linked to Parkinson's disease
26 October 2009 - by Dr Charlotte Maden
New research into a rare genetic disorder called Gaucher disease has revealed a genetic predisposition for people with this disease to Parkinson's disease. The study, published last week in the New England Journal of Medicine, was carried out because in the past some clinicians have noticed a link between the two diseases.... [Read More]
Scientists grow beating heart muscle tissue
26 October 2009 - by Antony Starza-Allen
A team of Harvard scientists has created 'beating' heart muscle using mouse embryonic stem cells. The research, published last week in the journal Science, means that scientists are one step closer to creating effective stem cell-based techniques to repair damage following heart attacks.... [Read More]
Promising new gene therapy for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy
25 October 2009 - by Dr Marianne Kennedy
A potential new gene therapy for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD) is now set to enter clinical trials after encouraging results in mice. The multinational team of scientists, publishing their findings in the journal Molecular Therapy, demonstrated that the therapy dramatically prevented severe muscle deterioration and extended the lifespan of mice with symptoms of DMD.... [Read More]
Lords attack cross-generation embryo and gamete donation
25 October 2009 - by Nienke Korsten
In a debate in the House of Lords of the UK parliament last week, Tory Lord Earl Howe criticised revised regulations that allow for embryos, sperm and eggs to be stored for up to 55 years for prematurely infertile parents. Previous legislation set the maximum storage time at ten years.... [Read More]
New DNA sequencing technology used to correctly diagnose genetic disease
25 October 2009 - by Dr Jay Stone
A team of researchers at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) has become the first to successfully diagnose a patient through the use of a high-throughput DNA sequencing technology.... [Read More]

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