Sunday, 31 October, 2010

16-Year-Old Dies In Tragic Bowflex Exercise Accident

There aren't too many details on just how 16-year-old Justin Butler got entangled in his Bowflex exercise machine, but we do know that the incident, unfortunately, led to his death.

Authorities did reveal that they don't believe this to be a case of intentional self-harm. Instead it's simply a very tragic accident which ended with Butler's parents finding their son in a terrible condition and the young man dying in a hospital the next day.
After the initial and vague news release from the Nevada County Sheriff's department was posted, Butler's uncle, Bill Buus, chose to speak out about the incident and shed more light on the death.

According to Buus, the tragedy was the result of a choking game. Such "games" are intended to produce a natural high of sorts and usually something we hear about only in the occasional sensational news stories intended to frighten parents, but a report in the Sacremento Bee reveals how they led to Butler's death:

Buus said his nephew was playing the "choking game." The CDC reports that in such an activity young people either choke each other or use a noose to choke themselves. Butler's parents have since discovered that other teens in the community are also playing the game that led to their son's death, Buss said.

The CDC reports that participants either pass out, which can lead to serious injury, or die from hanging or strangulation.
Buss confirmed that the teen choked himself by using a strap anchored on a piece of exercise equipment. He said the strap was part of the exercise apparatus. Please understand that this additional information came from Butler's family in an attempt to raise awareness of what occurred and to perhaps save another child's life.

Saturday, 30 October, 2010

Children Born by IVF Perform Above Average on Standardized Tests Compared to Their Peers, Study Suggests

Children conceived by in vitro fertilization (IVF) perform at least as well as their peers on academic tests at all ages from grade 3 to 12, according to a new University of Iowa study.
In fact, the study, published in the October issue of the journal Human Reproduction, found that children who were conceived by IVF actually scored better than age- and gender-matched peers on the Iowa Test of Basic Skills and the Iowa Test for Educational Development (ITBS/ED).
"Our findings are reassuring for clinicians and patients as they suggest that being conceived through IVF does not have any detrimental effects on a child's intelligence or cognitive development," said lead study author Bradley Van Voorhis, M.D., UI professor of obstetrics and gynecology and director of the Center for Advanced Reproductive Care at UI Hospitals and Clinics.
To investigate whether being conceived by IVF had long-term negative effects on children's cognitive development, Van Voorhis and colleagues compared the academic performance of 423 Iowa children, ages 8 to 17, who were conceived by IVF at UI Hospitals and Clinics with the performance of 372 age- and gender-matched peers from the same Iowa schools. The researchers also analyzed whether different characteristics of the children, parents or IVF methods affected children's test scores.
The study found that children born by IVF performed above average on standardized tests compared to their peers, and that a number of factors were linked to higher test scores, including older age of the mother, higher education levels of both parents and lower levels of divorce.
Importantly, the study also showed that different IVF procedures -- using fresh versus frozen embryos -- and different methods of insemination had no effect on children's test scores.
Although the study was not able to fully explain why children conceived by IVF performed better that their peers, Van Voorhis speculated that parents of children conceive by IVF might be older and have higher levels of education than average.
"By using age- and gender-matched children from the same classrooms as a control group to compare to our study participants, we attempted to control for any socioeconomic or environmental differences between the children born by IVF and their peers," Van Voorhis said. "But there still may have been some differences between the IVF children and the controls that we could not see from our data."
Among children born by IVF, the researchers did find a potentially concerning trend toward worse test scores for multiple births -- single babies performed better than twins, who performed better than triplets. However, this trend was not statistically significant and the triplets still did better that the average score of non-IVF children.
"This trend fits with our thinking that singleton births are healthier than multiple births, but we would need further study to find out if this trend is a real effect," Van Voorhis said.
IVF is generally considered safe but the technology has only been used for about 30 years, so there is a lack of data on long-term health outcomes for children conceived this way.
The UI study is the largest to date and followed children to an older age than previous studies. Additional strengths of the study included having a suitable control group and using the ITBS/ED, which is a widely accepted, objective measure of educational outcomes.

Friday, 29 October, 2010

Graphene Just Won Two Guys the Nobel. So What the Hell Is It?

Today, two professors won the Nobel prize for physics "for groundbreaking experiments regarding the two-dimensional material graphene." The Nobel is the Olympic gold of science. But what is graphene, and why did it earn these guys over a million bucks?

Some Nobels in physics are (relatively) straightforward. In 1935, James Chadwick discovered the neutron. A huge deal, of course, but something you can understand by 11th grade. But today's award—presented to Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov—is for a two-dimensional material. A what? Not exactly high school stuff. So let's break it down.

Graphene is, put most simply, carbon atoms—the same stuff in your pencil—arranged in linked hexagons. (Fun fact: the pair started their work with graphene by peeling off layers of actual pencil lead with scotch tape). This doesn't sound like anything special, except for the fact that, as Geim himself explains, "Everything in our three-dimensional world has a width, length and height. That was what we thought, at least." Geim and Novoselov's work expands our understanding of materials that don't have any of these dimensional properties, because they are only one atom thick. They are lacking an entire dimension.

It's hard to imagine—but that's sort of the point. The duo's work is on the frontier of an entire class of stuff that we're only just now starting to be able to conceive of. Geim himself says he has no idea the extent to which a material such as graphene could be useful. But we do know that it is super cool. Despite (or rather, because of) its measly two-dimensionality, graphene is the strongest and thinnest substance in the known universe, can be stretched like rubber, and is impregnable by liquid or gas. It also conducts electricity, allowing it to (someday) beat the pants off the copper and silicon we use in, well, pretty much everything. Still unimpressed? A layer of graphene could hold up a truck atop a pencil. You don't look so great now, do you, neutron.

So what's next? "Optimists say we are entering a carbon age. Even pessimists argue only that the impact will be somewhat less," says Geim, who is, naturally, excited: "I hope that graphene and other two-dimensional crystals will change everyday life as plastics did for humanity." So we'll have to wait and see, but still—job well done, gents

Thursday, 28 October, 2010

A Growing Array of Options for Fibroids

Not so long ago, women typically had babies in their 20s, developed fibroids in their 30s and underwent hysterectomies in their 40s. For most, at least, that was the typical progression. But these days, as more women hold demanding jobs, many delay childbearing — and most expect more say in their health care. Hysterectomy is just one choice in a growing menu of treatments for uterine fibroids, one of the most common and least discussed of female afflictions.
Several procedures, each new one less invasive than the last, have become available in the last decade, enabling women to avoid major surgery, protect their fertility and return to work within days rather than weeks.
With myomectomy, for example, doctors cut out the fibroids but leave the uterus intact. A technique called uterine artery embolization shrinks fibroids by blocking their blood supply. And with M.R.I.-guided ultrasound, tightly focused ultrasound beams zap fibroids, using magnetic resonance imaging to guide the process.
Moreover, new medicines are in development, including a class of drugs called progesterone receptor modulators that may shrink fibroids without inducing menopause and bone loss, as existing medications do.
All the new treatments, as well as more sophisticated diagnostic techniques, are part of a growing interest in a condition long considered too unpleasant and embarrassing to talk about, even though nearly three-quarters of women are affected.
“Because fibroids are benign, we overlook the significant burden on health,” said Dr. Barbara J. Davis of Millennium Pharmaceuticals, a drug researcher who was the principal investigator for the Fibroid Growth Study, a four-year project tracking 100 women that was sponsored by the National Institutes of Health. The study is one of several reflecting increased interest in, and financing for, fibroid research in the past decade. Although the study is finished, the results are still being analyzed.
Fibroids, which are abnormal, multishaped growths of tissue and fat, appear in only one place in the body: the uterus. The tumors are almost always benign but can grow to the size of a football and cause menstrual bleeding and pelvic pain so severe that some women plan their schedules around their monthly periods. The excessive bleeding is not only disruptive but can also lead to anemia.
Depending on their size and location, fibroids can also reduce fertility by as much as 70 percent and and cause several obstetric complications, including premature birth.
Though scientists still do not know what causes fibroids, they believe the answer will not only lead to new treatments for the disease but also shed light on the origins of cancer.
“If we could understand why fibroids remain benign even though they’re so prevalent and so large, we might be able to learn something about how to stop malignant tumors,” said Cheryl Walker, a researcher at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Texas. Her lab discovered fibroids in a species of rodent called the Eker rat that turned out to be remarkably similar to those found in humans.
“Mother Nature gave us a wonderful model,” said Dr. Walker, who is continuing to study the genetic makeup of the rats’ fibroids as well as their response to potential drugs.
In both Eker rats and humans, pregnancy appears to protect against fibroids. That supports one theory that modern women may be suffering more from the benign tumors than their ancestors, who spent most of their short lives either pregnant or nursing, with fewer menstrual cycles and less hormonal fluctuation to disturb the uterus.
“I call it my broken light bulb hypothesis,” said Dr. Elizabeth A. Stewart, a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the Mayo Clinic. “If you keep flicking it on and off it will eventually blow.”
Though hysterectomy remains the only foolproof cure for fibroids, alternative treatments continue to gain popularity and surgical techniques continue to be refined. Myomectomy, for example, once required surgery to open up the abdomen. Today it can be done laparoscopically, through a small incision into the navel, or hysteroscopically, by vaginally inserting a telescope through the cervix and into the uterus.
Uterine artery embolization, originally used to treat postpartum hemorrhage, was introduced in the United States in 1997 after first being used for fibroids in France. The patient is sedated, a catheter is inserted into her groin, and tiny plastic pellets are blown in until they plug up the blood vessels feeding the fibroids. The patient is usually released after an overnight stay at the hospital, followed by a week of rest at home.
Once the fibroids are deprived of blood, they usually shrink within a few menstrual cycles. Symptoms like pain, bleeding and frequent urination ease in 85 to 95 percent of patients, said Dr. James B. Spies of Georgetown University, an interventional radiologist who has performed the procedures on thousands of patients, including Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
“She went back to work in something like three days, which wasn’t my recommendation, but she’s a very dynamic person,” Dr. Spies said.
In M.R.I.-guided ultrasound, the newest and least invasive of the procedures, tightly focused ultrasound waves burn up the fibroids “like a magnifying glass with the sun’s rays,” said Dr. James Segars, head of fibroid research for the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. During the outpatient procedure, the woman lies inside an M.R.I. tube, while the images help the doctor focus high-intensity beams on her fibroids.
A big caveat to all these new treatments is that the fibroids can grow back, prompting the need for more procedures. And because the techniques are still so new, their effect on fertility, despite preserving the uterus, is not yet known.
Still, most experts agree that they represent a huge boon to millions of women who have been suffering in silence.
“This is an incredibly interesting disease,” Dr. Walker said. “It’s the elephant in the room in that it has a huge impact on women’s lives, yet you almost don’t hear it discussed because it’s not cancer.”


Wednesday, 27 October, 2010

How The Recipient Of The First Full Face Transplant Looks

This image was taken during a press conference which marked the first time Oscar appeared in public since the face transplant took place about four months ago. Prior to the transplant, the patient could only breathe and be fed through tubes, but now he has "a new nose, lips, cheekbone, lower and upper jawbone, palate, teeth, skin and muscles." As a result of those new parts, he is able to speak again—though still requires speech therapy—and is beginning to consume liquids and soft food without the aid of a tube.

Along with happiness about the success of this operation, there appear to be plenty of concerns and jokes regarding the potential dangers of full face transplants, but they're not necessary:

The 30-strong medical team, led by doctor Joan Pere Barret, was at pains to stress that Oscar's face does not look like the face of his donor, but rather is an amalgam of the two. "He absolutely does not look like the donor patient, and I think that's important for society to know. In terms of future donations of faces there is no such danger of this."

So let's not fret about an old John Travolta and Nicolas Cage movie and instead be happy that this man has been given a chance at a somewhat better life than what he had before.

Tuesday, 26 October, 2010

Indian mega-star snapped up by Etihad Airways

One of India's most famous actresses, Katrina Kaif, has been snapped up by Etihad Airways as the airline's new brand ambassador.
Kaif will work with Etihad Airways on a series of initiatives to promote the airline across India and around the world, including addressing Indian communities in key markets such as the UAE, the United States and the United Kingdom.
Kaif has already filmed an internet video for Etihad dancing in the airline’s First class lounge in Abu Dhabi, directed by award-winning Indian film director and choreographer, Farah Khan. The video, which has been distributed online across YouTube and various social networking sites, will be used to promote the partnership between Katrina and Etihad Airways throughout the campaign.
Peter Baumgartner, Etihad Airways’ chief commercial officer, said: “Katrina represents the best of Indian cinema. By challenging the industry as a highly talented newcomer, she has successfully reached the top of her field in a very short period of time. These values ideally match Etihad’s own ambition to be the best airline in the world.”
Kaif added: “Since they first started flying, Etihad Airways has succeeded in becoming one of the biggest names in the airline industry. I have always loved flying with Etihad and I am extremely honoured to work closely with the world’s leading airline.”

Monday, 25 October, 2010

Whale Snot Wins Scientist an Ig Nobel Award

The alternative Nobel Prize awards, the Ig Nobels, have been called for another year, with this particular winner making everyone laugh with an rc helicopter that collects whales' mucus and breath. A deserving winner, I think you might agree.

Dr Karina Acevedo-Whitehouse from the Zoological Society of London cleaned up in the engineering category for the helicopter, which has several petri dishes attached for collecting specimens. The other winners in the 21st Ig Nobel awards were equally strange, you'll be pleased to hear.

A Dutch man by the name of Simon Rietveld won the medicine category, for his research into the field of asthma—finding that asthma can be treated by riding on a rollercoaster. You can check out the full list of winners in the humorous science mag Annals of Improbable Research.

Sunday, 24 October, 2010

Fancy a cuppa? Humble cup of coffee may 'prevent IVF complication'

Researchers today suggested a life-threatening complication of fertility treatment could be prevented by a cup of coffee, after a study identified a possible cause.
In vitro fertilisation has resulted in the birth of many babies since the first 'test tube' baby in 1978.
But around 5 per cent to 10 per cent of women undergoing IVF experience a condition known as ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS).
Although the majority of cases are mild, with symptoms including abdominal bloating, nausea and weight gain, in its most serious form it can cause blood clotting disorders, kidney damage and chest pain.
Scientists from Middlesex University and Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry who analysed fluid around the human egg reported finding surprisingly high levels of the chemical adenosine.
They believe OHSS is caused when IVF drug stimulation creates high levels of adenosine, causing the blood vessels to dilate and blood fluid to leak into tissue.
The authors of the study, published in Metabolism Journal, wrote: 'Although adenosine has been detected in follicular fluid before, we were surprised at the extremely high levels detected in this study.'
They described the chemical as a 'significant contender as the molecular cause of OHSS'.
To detect adenosine in blood samples, the scientists used a technique called metabolomics, which involves the study of chemical evidence of cellular processes.
The researchers said a solution could lie in caffeine, which acts as a block to adenosine.
Ray Iles, professor of biomedical science at Middlesex University, said: 'It may be that a cup of strong coffee with every IVF cycle could reduce the chances of OHSS.
'Caffeine competes with adenosine for the same receptors, effectively blocking adenosine's action, and it could therefore potentially treat the cause of this condition.'
Further research is under way at Barts and The London Centre for Reproductive Medicine with IVF patients who have suffered OHSS to find out if caffeine could help avoid the complication

Saturday, 23 October, 2010

Building a Brighter Kid- Consider IVF

Most parents-in-waiting like to daydream that their unborn child might develop a cure for cancer or improve upon the theory of relativity — in short, save the world. Now, new research indicates that your best shot of birthing a brainy baby might be to first conceive via in vitro fertilization (IVF).
According to a University of Iowa (UI) study published in the October issue of the journal Human Reproduction, IVF babies scored better than age- and gender-matched peers on the Iowa Test of Basic Skills – a widely used test that evaluates students' abilities — and the Iowa Test for Educational Development (ITBS/ED), which is generally considered an objective measure of educational outcomes. Researchers found that children conceived by IVF score at least as well as their peers on academic tests at all ages from grade 3 to 12.
The study should soothe parents who are concerned about adverse effects of fertility treatments on babies' cognitive skills. Although IVF is considered safe, there isn't much in the way of long-term data on health outcomes. The Iowa study tracked children to an older age than previous research.
"Our findings are reassuring for clinicians and patients as they suggest that being conceived through IVF does not have any detrimental effects on a child's intelligence or cognitive development," says lead study author Bradley Van Voorhis, a professor of obstetrics and gynecology and director of the Center for Advanced Reproductive Care at UI Hospitals and Clinics.
Van Voorhis and his fellow researchers measured the academic performance of 423 Iowa children, ages 8 to 17, who were conceived by IVF against the performance of 372 age- and gender-matched children from the same schools. The researchers also took into account whether different characteristics of the children, parents or IVF methods had an effect on children's test scores.
The study found that IVF children scored above average on standardized tests compared to their peers. The research also linked other factors to higher test scores, namely older age of the mother, higher education levels of both parents and lower levels of divorce.
“The likelihood is this has to do with nature and not nurture,” says Robert Stillman, medical director at Shady Grove Fertility Center in Rockville, Md., which has the country's largest fertility program. “Those fortunate enough to be able to afford IVF in an arena where there's little insurance coverage may very well have the means to provide a high level of education for their children.”
Would-be parents relying on assisted reproduction techniques are sometimes concerned that using frozen rather than fresh embryos is less than ideal. After all, aren't fresh veggies better than frozen ones? Yet the Iowa study debunked that, showing that children's test scores didn't fluctuate as a result of various methods of insemination or reliance on fresh vs. frozen embryos.
Deliberating between transferring one or more embryos? You might be interested to learn that the researchers found that single babies performed better than twins, who performed better than triplets — if only every so slightly. But even the triplets performed better than the average score of children conceived the old-fashioned way.
Still, that's no reason to rush into IVF if you don't have to. Says Stillman: “This is an argument not for doing IVF to have brighter kids but for having insurance coverage so everyone can have a child if they're having trouble getting pregnant.”

Friday, 22 October, 2010

Anger at IVF treatment for jailed terrorist couple

Fernando Garcia Jodra, 40, and his girlfriend Nerea Bengoa Zarisolo, 39, are hoping to become parents despite the fact that both have been condemned to minimum jail terms of 30 years after being found guilty in 2004 of four murders.

They are held in separate prisons and are not allowed physical contact, communicating only by letters, which are checked and censored. It is their right, however, under Spanish law, to apply to have IVF treatment in jail.

If the couple conceive a child it will remain with the mother in prison until it is at least 3 years old. Angeles Pedraza, the president of the Victims of Terrorism Association, said the treatment was unacceptable.

“This is a kick in the face for the victims,” she said. “How many families have been destroyed by Eta’s barbarity? The only family unity they can enjoy is to go to the cemetery to remember their dead.”

Media reports in Spain suggested that the treatment could cost as much as $8260. Prison authorities refused to comment.

Thursday, 21 October, 2010

Wal Mart, Are you Kidding Me

So I went to WalMart and saw that they had Obama Chistmas Tree ornaments....

Now ain't that a bitch??? Suddenly it's OK to hang a black man from a tree again?

Wednesday, 20 October, 2010

Psychology ka practical ho raha tha

Professor ne 1 Chuhe k liye 1 taraf cake aur dusri taraf chuhe ki biwi (chuhia) rakh di.

Chuha foran Cake Ki taraf lapka.

Dusri baar Cake ko badal kar Roti rakhi.

Chuha Roti ki taraf lapka.

Is tarah kai baar food item badle.

Chuha har baar food ki taraf bhaaga.

Proffesor: Isse ye saabit ho gaya ke bhukh mei hi sabse badi taqat hai.

Itne mei last row se ek awaz ayi =



















"Sir, ek bar chuhiya bhi badal ke dekh lete"

Tuesday, 19 October, 2010

British fertility device as effective as IVF

The DuoFertility system, pioneered by former students at Cambridge University, measures the tiny changes in body temperature that indicate when ovulation occurs. The scientists claim the £495 device is more accurate than current prediction methods and produces results comparable with much more expensive IVF fertility treatments.
The findings were delivered a the World Association of Reproductive Medicine Congress by Dr Oriane Chausiaux, chief scientific officer for DuoFertility, developed by Cambridge Temperature Concepts.
She told the conference how the DuoFertility programme of research resulted in a pregnancy success rate of 19.5 per cent after six months, which is as effective as IVF.
The device works by placing a patch, which is about the size of a £1 coin and is worn night and day, under the arm which records the minute changes in the woman's temperature.
It measures body temperature 20,000 times a day to identify a woman's fertile days with 99 per cent accuracy.
The device, dubbed the SatNav of the fertility world, is claimed to be statistically as good as IVF but at a fraction of the cost, with the added bonus of your money back if there is no pregnancy in a year.
Dr Shamus Husheer, the inventor of DuoFertility, said: “We are delighted that Oriane has been given the opportunity to present our significant findings at this event.
“What we now know, as a result of our work, is that for certain causes of infertility, DuoFertility is as effective as IVF.
“Clearly there are some infertility issues where the use of the device is unable to aid pregnancy, such as a complete lack of sperm.
“However, for a range of common causes such as moderate male factors, cycle irregularity and secondary or unexplained infertility, our monitoring device is achieving great results.”
Raj Mathur, Consultant in Reproductive Medicine and Surgery at Addenbrookes Hospital, Cambridge says: "It has been recognised for a long time that women experience a small rise in body temperature that occurs around the time they release an egg from the ovary.
“However, present techniques for recording this do not appear to be of clinical value.
"The Reproductive Medicine Department at Addenbrooke’s hospital is examining whether body temperature measurements taken by the Duo Fertility sensor are able to identify cycles where ovulation occurs.”
Duo Fertility, which is sold online and not available on the NHS or High Street, is the only monitor on the market that allows users to enter in other personal fertility parameters, such as period length, the quality of cervical mucus or the position of you cervix.
Studies have shown that including this information increased the accuracy of detecting fertile days by 99.7 per cent.
Andrew Sharkey PhD, Associate lecturer, Department of Pathology, University of Cambridge said: “There is a big social and clinical need for a method to predict ovulation and hence potential fertility.
“The concept seems sound- ie measuring temperature rise as a surrogate for the hormonal changes induced at around the time of ovulation.
"The limited data I have seen suggests that it is robust, simple to use and non-invasive and relatively cheap. All of this is good.”
A recent fertility survey showed that one in 10 women has had fertility treatment and that some were so desperate for a child they were prepared to pay up to £50,000 for IVF.

Monday, 18 October, 2010

How IVF 'skews the ratio of boys to girls': Male embryos appear better equipped to survive

Certain types of IVF treatment may increase the odds of having a boy, research revealed last month.
Some methods tip the gender balance to as many as 128 boys being born for every 100 girls. The balance for natural births is 105 boys to 100 girls.
The discovery was made by Australian researchers, who believe that the IVF process may be affecting the sex ratio.
Certain types of IVF treatment may increase the odds of having a boy, research has revealed.
Although the reasons remain unclear, the researchers suggested it could be because male embryos may in some way be better equipped to survive the process.
They warned more research is needed to ensure a serious imbalance of male to female children does not develop as IVF becomes increasingly common
Study leader Professor Michael Chapman, from the University of New South Wales, said there was no question of the ratio being manipulated by IVF clinicians. Deliberate sex selection is banned in Australia, as it is in Britain except in very specific circumstances, such as to avoid gender-related hereditary disease.
Professor Chapman said laboratory methods may be responsible for the imbalance, particularly the substance in which embryos develop in the test tube.
‘It could be that fitter embryos are male and it may be the female embryos which fall away at the various hurdles,’ he added.
Some methods tip the gender balance to as many as 128 boys being born for every 100 girls.
‘If we can discover which techniques are responsible for the difference, and why, we may be able to ensure the sex ratio returns to normal.’
Researchers studied all live births following fertility treatment in clinics in Australia and New Zealand between 2002 and 2006. Standard IVF was compared with intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), an IVF variant where the sperm are injected directly into the eggs, normally because the sperm may be too weak or few in number to penetrate the egg naturally.
They also took into account exactly when the embryo was implanted into the womb – either two to three days after fertilisation when the egg splits into two cells, or after five days, when it has developed into up to 100 cells in the lab.
In total, 13,368 babies were born to 13,165 women who underwent the transfer of a single embryo, says the study, reported in BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology.
The overall male ratio of babies born was 51.3 per cent, not far off the figure of 51.5 per cent for the general Australian population from natural conception.
However, the study found specific IVF regimes changed the balance.
Compared with natural conception, ICSI produced a lower ratio of male babies (50 per cent) and standard IVF a higher ratio (53 per cent).
The stage at which the embryo was transferred had even more effect, with 49.9 per cent male births from embryos transferred after two days, compared with 54.1 per cent at five days.
However, the combination of the two factors led to the greatest alteration in sex ratio.
After standard IVF where the embryo was implanted after five days, 56.1 per cent of births were boys. This represents 128 boys for every 100 girls.
But when ICSI embryos were implanted at two to three days, 48.7 per cent of babies were male – 94 boys for every 100 girls.
Professor Philip Steer, BJOG editor-in-chief, said the use of IVF to help childless couples may have health and social implications.
In 2007, the latest year for which there are official figures, there were more than 13,000 babies born through IVF in the UK – around 1.5 per cent of all births.

Sunday, 17 October, 2010

Darpa Wants Remote Controls to Master Troop Minds

The Pentagon's research arm wants to trick out troops' brains, from the areas that regulate alertness and cognition to psychiatric well-being. And they want to do it all from the outside in, with a gadget installed inside the troops' helmets.

"Remote Control of Brain Activity Using Ultrasound," the Defense Department's Armed with Science blog promises.

It's the latest out-there project in the military's growing arsenal of brain-based research. In recent months alone, the Pentagon's funded projects to optimize troop's minds, prevent injuries and even preemptively assess cognitive ability and vulnerability to traumatic stress. Now, Darpa's funding one lab that's trying to do it all - from boosting troop smarts to preventing traumatic brain injuries.

Arizona State University neuroscientist William Tyler has been working with funding from the Army Research Laboratory for years. That neurotechnology work has now caught the eye of Darpa, which awarded his lab a Young Faculty Award to improve upon non-invasive approaches to brain stimulation.

"When people ask what this kind of device could do, I ask them what their brain does for them," Tyler tells Danger Room. "The brain serves all the functions of your body, and if you knew the neuroanatomy, then you can start to regulate each one of those functions."

Already, scientists have devised cutting-edge brain stimulation methods to treat medical disorders, like Parkinson's disease or severe depression. But current deep-brain approaches require invasive surgery to implant electrodes and batteries, and external ultrasound stimulation can't penetrate "the deep brain circuits where many diseased circuits reside," Tyler writes at Armed With Science.

Now, Tyler and his research team have created a "transcranial pulsed ultrasound" that's able to stimulate a myriad of brain circuits from the outside in. The device has already proven capable of targeting deep brain regions, unlike existing methods. And it's capable of zeroing in on extremely specific brain zones, as small as two or three millimeters. Plus, prototype devices are small enough to be fitted inside a typical helmet.

"Going deep beneath the skull and having extremely specific spatial resolution are two huge advantages over existing approaches," Tyler says. "Depth and specificity are what allow the ultrasound to do what other methods can't."

With Darpa's funding, Tyler plans to expand the uses of the ultrasound and improve the device's spacial resolution even more, making it a veritable all-in-one brain stimulation device. Using a microcontroller device, the ultrasound would stimulate different brain regions to boost troop alertness and cognition, relieve stress and pain, and protect them against traumatic brain injuries.

"The really damaging part of a TBI isn't the initial injury," Tyler says. "It's the metabolic damage, the free radicals and the swelling that are happening in the hours afterward. If you can flick your remote and trigger an immediate intervention, you'd be curbing what might otherwise be lifelong brain damage."

Saturday, 16 October, 2010

Police shut down California street as Octomum Nadya Suleman holds yard sale in fight to keep her family together

Octomum Nadya Suleman held a yard sale on Saturday in a desperate attempt to raise enough money to keep a roof over the heads of her 14 children.The sale drew a crowd of more than 150 people and police were forced to shut off her street in La Habra, California, because more kept arriving. Miss Suleman, 35, is reportedly more than a month behind on her mortgage payments and says she is facing foreclosure. But she insist she has turned down lucrative offers to strip off for Playboy or to appear in an adult movie .
‘I’m just trying to put my best foot forward and do what’s best to save my home and feed my children,’ she told RadarOnline. ‘I will never pose nude to save my house. ‘I’m a good mother and my kids come first. We will get through this,’ she added.
The cash-strapped mother put everything up for sale, from an autographed nursing bra costing Rs 1000 to the ‘Octofridge’ that went for Rs 40000. Also up for grabs were fourteen tiny devil costumes the octuplets were dressed up in last Halloween, which sold for Rs 2500, a signed sonogram of the babies and the red bikini their mother wore for a magazine photo shoot showing off her post-pregnancy body.
Other items on the auction block included the sofa she sat on when she announced she was pregnant and a baby-sized ‘time-out’ chair given to her by Oprah Winfrey after she appeared on the daytime talk queen’s show.For Rs 500, visitors could have their photos snapped with Ms Suleman, but it cost Rs 5000 for the babies to be in the shot, as well. Boyd Beaman, from La Habra, paid Rs 1000 for a photo with the mother and two of his workmates so he had a keepsake ‘for nostalgia and for history.’
‘It’s just a matter of survival,’ said Ms Suleman. ‘Food, shelter and clothing. There are financial troubles.’ She was helped at the sale by radio personality Tattoo, of the Rick Dee's morning Internet Top 40 show. Ms Suleman said she has ‘maybe a week’ before the house owner launches eviction proceedings. ‘We’re destitute right now, we’re not doing well at all,’ she said before the sale. Although she will almost certainly have to go on welfare, she said she will try to remain independent for as long as possible. ‘I’m going to do everything I can possibly do not to go on welfare,’ she told RadarOnline. ‘I believe in my mind wholeheartedly that there’s always a way.’ The babies, the world’s first set of surviving octuplets, are now 19 months old. Miss Suleman already had six older children when she gave birth to another eight in January last year.

Friday, 15 October, 2010

The Rise of the Revolutionary ‘Riding Car’

His machine looks like a motorcycle with training wheels. But under the strictest etymology - the Greek auto means "self" and the Latin mobilis means "mobile" - the riding car was the first automobile. The car as we know it arrived in 1886 when Daimler built the four-wheeled Motor Carriage and Carl Benz built the three-wheeled Patent Motor Car. But Daimler set the stage for the automotive era when he filed his patent for the riding car on Aug. 29, 1885.

Daimler and Benz, who had developed their automobiles independently, later founded Daimler AG. The giant German automaker marked the anniversary of the riding car by calling it "the most important precursor to individual mobility." It proved an internal combustion engine could power a vehicle and a human being could control it. It was a glimpse of what could be achieved.

In today's tech world, it would be called Automobile V1.0.

What made the machine possible was the "Grandfather Clock" engine, so named because it resembled a clock. Daimler developed the single-cylinder four-stroke engine with Wilhelm Maybach in 1884. It displaced 265cc, produced 0.4 horsepower at 600 rpm and was remarkable for its relatively light weight

Daimler built the riding car to test the engine. The wood frame rode on wood wheels wrapped with iron bands. The engine drove the rear wheel via a belt. According to Daimler, a contemporary publication (which Daimler did not name) described the riding car like this:

"To start the engine, one must first light the small flame beneath the hot ignition tube and crank the engine once using the crank; these preparations take only a minute. The engine runs smoothly, since the silencer dampens the exhaust gases entering the exhaust pipe. To set the vehicle in motion, the driver climbs aboard, takes hold of the steering bar and connects the engine to the bicycle. This is done by means of a lever, cord and tension pulley, which shifts the drive belt onto the pulley."

Two gears were available, selected using a lever while at a standstill. First gear was good for 6 km/hr (3.7 mph) while second gear brought the machine to twice that. The brakes were activated by tugging on a cord.

In November 1885, Daimler's son Adolph Daimler drove the riding car along a three-kilometer stretch of road between Caanstatt and Untert├╝rkheim and back. The patent was awarded on Aug. 11, 1886.

The automobile age was officially under way.

Thursday, 14 October, 2010

Variations in IVF laws fuel market for 'fertility tourism'

A global survey of fertility treatment covering more than 100 countries has revealed wide variations in international laws governing IVF, which are fuelling the growth of "fertility tourism".

At least 10,000 people go abroad each year to seek help to have a baby because the laws are too restrictive in their home country or the cost of treatment is too high.

No other field of medicine is subject to such wide differences in clinical practice, which are driven by social and religious attitudes rather than scientific evidence.

Experts at the World Congress on Fertility in Munich announced a code of practice on cross-border care, to be published by the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE) and the International Federation of Fertility Societies (IFFS) later this year.

Professor Ian Cooke, education director of IFFS, said: "What is considered acceptable varies from country to country. How carefully do they screen donors? How do they screen for multiple pregnancies? Do you want to come back with quadruplets? That's madness."

Both international organisations support the right of patients to go abroad. But they call for the harmonisation of national standards to increase safety.

In Britain, the chief reason for patients travelling is the shortage of egg donors, with waiting lists of up to two years in some clinics. Favoured destinations are Spain and the Czech Republic, where egg donors are paid €900 ($1600) and €800 respectively.

In Britain, regulations limit clinics to paying a maximum of £250 ($528) in compensation for lost earnings to egg donors.

Sperm donors are also in short supply in the UK, since donor anonymity was ended in 2005. Some couples travel abroad to obtain anonymous sperm. Cost is also a factor, with an average price of more than £3000 per cycle of IVF treatment in London. "It may well be cheaper to go to Barcelona or Prague and have a cycle of treatment there," Cooke said.

Dr Francoise Shenfield, co-ordinator of the ESHRE committee on cross-border reproductive care, said multiple pregnancy posed the biggest threat to patients. The UK restricts clinics to replacing at most two embryos in women up to the age of 40 but other countries allow up to four. Evidence shows multiple pregnancies carry higher risks for mother and babies.

"There is a striking difference between patients who had been abroad and those treated at home in terms of multiple pregnancies. Every clinic should have a strategy to reduce them," Shenfield said.

The survey revealed the rapid expansion of fertility treatment with more than 500 clinics in India and more than 600 in Japan.

Wednesday, 13 October, 2010

Facebook Is Trying To Register The Word “Face” As A Trademark

First Facebook didn't want anyone else to have the word "book" in the name of his or her online community and now it doesn't want anyone to have the word "face" either. Facebook has apparently taken over the trademark application for "Face" from a company who operated a site called and is trying to pursue the trademark. It won't be an easy task though, because Aaron Greenspan—the fellow who took Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to court over the creation of Facebook—is opposing the application according to TechCrunch: Greenspan now has his own company, Think Computer, which is behind the mobile payments app called FaceCash.

If Facebook gets the trademark for the word "Face," that could spell trouble for FaceCash. "The possible registration has implications for my company (not to mention hundreds of others, including Apple, Inc.), so I've decided to ask the USPTO for an extension of time to oppose it," he explains in an email. Apple, of course, owns the trademark to "Facetime," the video calling feature on the latest iPhones.

Although Greenspan owns the trademark to "FaceCash", he wants to protect his ability to use the word "face" in future products. He also wants to make sure Facebook won't go after him. Given it's track record of vigorously defending its trademarks (which it is encouraged to do by the law or else risk losing them), that could become a very real possibility.

Can't wait to see how this drama plays out.

Tuesday, 12 October, 2010

Researchers Successfully Translate Brainwaves Into Words

In a recent study, researchers at the University of Utah successfully translated brainwaves into words, a huge breakthrough that could eventually give paralyzed patients a new way to communicate.

The trials, which involve placing a grid of electrodes directly on an epileptic subject's brain, are preliminary—only that one individual has been tested, and when the entire pool of words, ten in all, were used, they were only identified with 48% accuracy. But when limited simply to "yes" and "no," researchers were able read the brainwaves accurately 90% of the time.

Those results are extremely promising. Bradley Greger, a bioengineer at the University of Utah who worked on the studies, explains:This is quite a simple technology … based on devices that have been used in humans for 50 years now...We're pretty hopeful that, with a better design, we'll be able to decode more words and, in two or three years get approval for a real feasibility trial in paralyzed patients.

With some paralyzed patients' means of communication limited to blinking their eyelids or wiggling their finger, this research has profound potential.

Monday, 11 October, 2010

IVF: Did India miss a medicine Nobel?

Robert Edwards of Britain won the 2010 Nobel Prize in medicine for the development of in-vitro fertilization, a ground-breaking process that has helped many couples over the last two decades have children. While Edwards was working towards his dream - creating the world’s first in vitro fertilized or test tube baby - a physician in India was working on the same subject but the odds were piled heavily against him.
Bengali doctor Subhash Mukhopadhyay was two months late in announcing the birth of Durga or Kanupriya Agarwal - India’s first test tube baby created by him on October 3, 1978. While Edwards, professor emeritus at University of Cambridge, was lauded for his efforts, Mukhopadhyay was fighting a hostile state government that rubbished his findings. Ridiculed and ostracised, Mukhopadhyay was also not allowed to publicise his work in the international arena.
He was invited by the Kyoto University in 1979 to present his findings during a seminar in Japan but denied a passport by the Indian government. The depressed physician committed suicide in 1981. Here are some facts about the man considered the father of India’s IVF research, who remained unsung during his lifetime but inspired many physicians after his death to bring his life and work to the public domain.

So who was Dr. Subhash Mukhopadhyay?

Born on January 16, 1931 in Bihar, Mukhopadhyay studied medicine at the prestigious National Medical College in Kolkata. He received his doctorate from Calcutta University in reproductive physiology in 1958. He obtained a second doctorate from Edinburgh in reproductive endocrinology. He was noted for his work on ovarian stimulation - he used the protocol successfully on Durga’s mother even before any scientist in the world had resorted to the method. He was also successful in his methodology of cryopreservation of a eight cell embryo.
However, the news of the birth of Durga, the world’s second test tube baby, was met with disdain and skepticism by his peers.
The only evidence of his work was a report he had prepared for the West Bengal government facing an enquiry. He was questioned by a government committee several times and his work was discredited as “bogus”. What went against Dr. Mukhopadhyay then was the fact that no physiological or biochemical technique could distinguish between in vivo and in vitro fertilised babies. He was transferred to the ophthalmology department of Calcutta Medical College in 1981 and prevented from completing his work on IVF.
Mukhopadhyay had no documented evidence and the credit for bringing his work to the public domain is largely given to Dr. T C Anand Kumar who was recognized officially as the first to deliver a test tube baby in 1986. Kumar went through Mukhopadhyay’s notes and credited the doctor posthumously for his pioneering work.Medical scientists opine that had Mukhopadhyay been allowed to publish his work and given adequate government funds and infrastructure to complete his research, he would have been recognized as the pioneer in in vitro fertilization process, hopefully paving the way for a Nobel prize in medicine such as his precursor Edwards.
The Indian Council of Medical Research in 2005 acknowledged Mukhopadhyay as the creator of India’s first test tube baby. Filmmaker Tapan Sinha, who was deeply impressed by Mukhopadhyay’s work, based his award-winning film ‘Ek Doctor Ki Maut’ on him.

Sunday, 10 October, 2010

In-vitro fertilization (IVF) for the poor

British scientist Robert Edwards won a Nobel Prize for helping develop in-vitro fertilization. Now, scientists are bringing the technology to the developing world.In-vitro fertilization is a fairly common method of aiding conception. But it's expensive, and only a small percentage of people around the world can afford it. Dr. Ian Cooke, one of the founders of the Low Cost IVF Foundation, wants to change that. His organization is trying to lower the cost of IVF treatment, to make it accessible to the poorest areas in the world.

"There's a huge need in many, many parts of the world," Cooke told us, including in parts of the world concerned about overpopulation. Infertility "leads to social isolation, physical and emotional abuse and ostracism and indeed suicide," Cooke says. The problem is also more widespread in the developing world. And in many parts of the world, according to Cooke, "particularly in rural areas such as Bangladesh, this leads to increasing poverty because husbands will not let wives who are not fertile work. And so they're even further diminished."

In the United Kingdom, IVF costs about $5,000, and it can be much higher in the United States. "We think that the technical side of it without the staff cost could be done for as little as $200," Cooke told The World. The organization would use cheap drugs and simpler incubation programs. "And because you have the intention of only transferring a single embryo instead of larger numbers," Cooke says, "laboratory costs are kept lower."

The organization has already started work in Tanzania and Sudan. "There end up being major staffing issues that need to be resolved so we don't have a long-term functioning clinic," Cooke says. At the same, he points out, "we've only been working on this in the last twelve months or so." So there may be opportunities in the future.

Friday, 8 October, 2010

Vatican continues to attack Nobel over IVF award

The Vatican kept up its attack on the Nobel committee yesterday for giving the medicine prize to in-vitro fertilisation pioneer Robert Edwards, saying he had led to a culture where embryos are seen as commodities.

For the second day, it kept up its public criticism of the choice of Edwards, whose success in fertilising a human egg outside of the womb led to "test tube babies" and innovations such as embryonic stem cell research and surrogate motherhood.

The Vatican ratcheted up its negative opinion as several leading Italian newspapers criticised it for its attack on Edwards.

A statement by the Vatican-based International Federation of Catholic Medical Associations (FIAMC), said it was "dismayed" at the choice.

"Although IVF has brought happiness to the many couples who have conceived through this process, it has done so at enormous cost," the federation said in a statement issued on Vatican letter head.

"Many millions of embryos have been created and discarded during the IVF process," it said, adding that embryos were being used as "animals destined for destruction".

"This use has led to a culture where they are regarded as commodities, rather than the precious human individuals which they are".

A Vatican official’s initial negative reaction on Monday to the medicine prize being given to Edwards as "completely misplaced" was splashed on front pages of yesterday’s Italian newspapers, with some editorials harshly critical of its stance.

"The devil is not behind Robert Edwards, as the Church seems to suspect, but a passion for science and an attempt to satisfy the desire that women have for maternity," La Repubblica said in an editorial.

"Edwards helped – not damaged – millions of people," said an editorial in the Corriere della Sera while the leftist L’Unita sarcastically ran a headline reading "The Heretic" under a picture of Edwards with two infants born through IVF.

Yesterday’s statement by the Catholic medical federation said that "as Catholic doctors we recognise the pain that infertility brings to a couple" but that research had to be carried "within an ethical framework".

Thursday, 7 October, 2010

New hope for IVF couples

A new drug is offering hope to couples undergoing IVF.

The drug means women will no longer face a daily hormone injection, instead it will be a single dose each week.

IVF specialists say the drug will make the process more comfortable for women who now have to give themselves a daily injection for between seven and 10 days in a row to create eggs for collection.

The medical director of Melbourne IVF, Lyndon Hale, said an international study recently showed the drug Elonva delivered the same number of pregnancies and outcomes as the drug currently used. But he said this option was only suitable for about 80 per cent of women and not those with particular conditions, such as polycystic ovary syndrome.

The new treatment becomes available next month.

Elonva is the first sustained follicle stimulant. Due to its ability to initiate and sustain multiple follicular growth for an entire week, a single subcutaneous injection of the recommended dose of Elonva may replace the first seven injections of any conventional daily recombinant follicle stimulating hormone (rFSH) preparation in a COS treatment cycle.

"The European approval of Elonva is a positive step towards reducing the burden of injections for women experiencing difficulty conceiving," said Mirjam Mol-Arts, senior vice president, Merck Research Laboratories. "Merck is proud of the company's women's health portfolio and is committed to providing effective patient-focused fertility treatments."

The Phase III development program for Elonva included the Engage trial, the largest double-blind fertility agent trial in IVF performed to date. In the Engage trial, the ongoing pregnancy rate, the primary endpoint, obtained in the Elonva treatment arm (38.9 percent per started cycle) was similar to that achieved in patients receiving a daily dose of rFSH (38.1 percent per started cycle).

Engage was a non-inferiority trial designed to compare Elonva 150 mcg to 200 IU rFSH. A total of 1,506 patients (with a body weight greater than 60 kg) at 34 in-vitro fertilization (IVF) clinics in North America and Europe were randomized to start stimulation with either Elonva 150 mcg or a daily dose of 200 IU rFSH for seven days. Patients also received rFSH (maximum 200 IU/day) from stimulation day eight onward, when required. Starting on stimulation day five, all patients received 0.25mg gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) antagonist until triggering of final oocyte maturation by human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG). The primary endpoint was the ongoing pregnancy rate assessed at ten weeks or more after embryo transfer. In the Elonva treatment arm the ongoing pregnancy rate (38.9 percent per started cycle) was similar to that achieved in patients receiving a daily dose of rFSH (38.1 percent per started cycle). The number of oocytes retrieved per attempt, the co-primary endpoint, was 13.7 (± 8.2) for the Elonva group and 12.5 (± 6.7) for the rFSH group.

Elonva is approved for COS in combination with a GnRH antagonist for the development of multiple follicles in women participating in an ART program. Elonva is designed as a sustained follicle stimulant with the same pharmacodynamic profile as rFSH, but with a markedly prolonged duration of FSH activity. Due to its ability to initiate and sustain multiple follicular growth for an entire week, a single subcutaneous injection of the recommended dose of ELONVA may replace the first seven injections of any daily rFSH preparation in a COS treatment cycle. is approved for COS in combination with a GnRH antagonist for the development of multiple follicles in women participating in an ART program.

Wednesday, 6 October, 2010

New Genetic Model Accurately Predicts Who's Likely to Live to 100

In 1997, Jeanne Louise Calment of France died at the age of 122, making her the oldest documented human to have ever lived. But is there something genetically unique about centenarians that enables them to age gracefully and relatively disease-free?

According to the results of a long-term study at Boston University School of Medicine, the answer is yes. People who live to be 100 years or older are rare, and only about 1 in 600,000 people in industrialized nations live that long.

As part of the New England Centenarian Study, a team of aging research specialists led by Paola Sebastiani and Tom Perls looked at 300,000 genetic markers in 800 centenarians and compared their profiles with those of random individuals. They then developed a genetic model that can compute an individual's predisposition to living a long life and found that centenarians shared a common genetic signature that could predict extreme longevity — with 77 percent accuracy. The findings represent a breakthrough in understanding how genes influence human life spans.

"Out of 100 centenarians we could correctly predict the outcome of 77 percent, while we incorrectly predicted the outcome of 23 percent," said Sebastiani. The researchers believe the 23 percent error rate can be attributed to genetic variance not yet known and included in the analysis, as well as other factors that influence longevity. "Making healthy lifestyle choices such as eating a well balanced diet or exercising regularly and avoiding exposure to tobacco plays an undisputed role in determining how each of us will age," said Andrew Sugden, international managing editor of Science.

Centenarians are a model of aging well, and 90 percent of people who reach this milestone are disability free at the average age of 93, Perls said. But he advised caution about the possibility of "testing" people to determine longevity, saying that much more study needs to be done regarding how health care providers and the research community guide individuals about what to do with the information they get. "I think a test for exceptional longevity is not quite ready for prime time," he said. "We're quite a ways from understanding what pathways governed by these genes are involved and how the integration of these genes, not just with themselves but with environmental factors, are all playing a role in this longevity puzzle."

According to Perls, future analysis of the results may shed light on how specific genes protect centenarians from common age-related diseases, such as dementia, heart disease, and cancer. "I look at the complexity of this puzzle and feel very strongly that this will not lead to treatments that will get a lot of people to become centenarians, but it could make a dent in the onset of age-related diseases like Alzheimer's," he said.

Tuesday, 5 October, 2010

No Cuteness Can Make Needles Any Less Terrifying

Syrinx is a syringe substitute for kids. The designers think that, by making them look like little animals with needles coming out of their noses, they are making syringes kid-friendly. Because, you know, blood sucking animals are so cute:

When they are done, the doctor can give the detachable animal to the kid, so they can keep reliving the moment when the-bad-man-in-the-white-lab-coat took a glass of blood out of their bodies in the comfort of their own bedroom.