Friday, January 07, 2011

Life Links 1/7/11

Both the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal covered a gathering of religious leaders who called for a new effort to lower the abortion rate in New York City where 41% of pregnancies end in abortion. From the Times:
Archbishop Dolan said abortion statistics in New York indicated that it was unlikely that the practice would soon end. But, he added: “We have to tell people what is happening here. I’m frankly embarrassed to be a member of a community where 41 percent of pregnancies are terminated.”


The gathering of the religious leaders was coordinated by a 2-year-old organization called the Chiaroscuro Foundation, a nonprofit group financed privately by its president, Sean Fieler, an investment banker who supports religious and conservative causes. Mr. Fieler said the event was prompted by the release last month of city health department statistics showing a 41 percent rate of abortion overall in 2009, including a rate close to 60 percent for black women.

Dr. Drew has indicated that MTV's No Easy Decision abortion special made him uncomfortable.
“The topic makes me uncomfortable,” Pinsky admitted Thursday at the Television Critics Association press tour in Pasadena. “But the paradigm there is I felt the conversation was worth having. You have to let the conversation occur.”

Researchers at UC San Diego and the Scripps Research Institute have discovered that embryonic stem cell lines and induced pluripotent stem cells have more genetic abnormalities than other types of cells.
ES cells tended to have duplications in the genome, while iPS cells were more likely to have deletions. The scientists located specific regions in the genome where the abnormalities were likeliest to arise. In ES cells, the duplications were near pluripotency-associated genes -- the ones that allow the cells to turn into any other kind of cell in the body. In iPS cells, duplications involved cell proliferation genes, and deletions involved tumor suppressor genes.

The danger of such genetic abnormalities? They are often associated with cancers, said senior author Jeanne F. Loring, in a news release.

"We don't know yet what effects, if any, these genetic abnormalities will have on the outcome of basic research studies or clinical applications," said the study's lead author, UCSD professor Louise Laurent. "We need to find out."

Until they do, don't expect an explosion of ES- or iPS-based cures for disease.

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