Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Life Links 12/8/10

In North Carolina, the Wake County board of commissioners has voted to remove coverage of elective abortions from the county's health insurance plan.

At a CNN Health blog, Elizabeth Landua discusses a recent study which found that frequent use of cell phones by pregnant women may lead to behavioral issues in their children up to the age of seven.
Children who had exposure to cell phones both in the womb and after birth, up to age 7 had a higher likelihood of behavioral problems than those who had no exposure, researchers said in a new study in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health.

The behavioral problems include hyperactivity and attention and social issues.....

In this study, the researchers looked at more than 28,000 children. More than 10 percent of children who had prenatal exposure to cell phones had mothers who said they spoke on their cell phones four times a day or more. Nearly 50 percent of mothers said they had a cell phone turned on at all times. Again, these figures are based on self-reporting by the mothers who participated in the study.

They found that, as with the previous study, the more frequently a mother used a cell phone, the greater the risk that her child would have a behavioral problem.

Japanese researchers have used induced pluripotent stem cells to successfully treat small monkeys who were paralyzed.
The team planted four types of genes into human skin cells to create the iPS cells, according to Kyodo News.

The injection was given on the ninth day after the injury, considered the most effective timing, and the monkey started to move its limbs again within two to three weeks, Okano said.

"After six weeks, the animal had recovered to the level where it was jumping around," he told AFP. "It was very close to the normal level."
A story about the research in the Mainichi Daily News notes that it would be difficult to use human iPS cells in human treatments.
One challenge to providing the treatment to humans is timing. It takes six months or more to create iPS cells -- not nearly quick enough for timely transplants to recent accident victims. To overcome this problem, the research group is also partnering with Osaka National Hospital to study the creation of an iPS cell bank that would make the stem cells available on demand.

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