SCIENCE IN THE NEWS WEEKLY
Biomedicine: A Senator's Illness in America, Hybrid Embryos in Britain
The announcement last week that U.S. senator Edward Kennedy has a malignant brain tumor (a glioma) prompted many media outlets to report on the treatment options and prognosis for this medical condition.
In other news, the British parliament approved research using hybrid embryos that contain human and animal material. Experts said cytoplasmic hybrids are never likely to be transplanted into sick patients, and any insights about diseases revealed through this line of research are probably years away.
Meanwhile, U.S. health officials expressed concern that narcotic painkillers and other legitimate pharmaceuticals are replacing illegal substances as the drugs of choice among drug abusers.
According to a study released at the American Urological Association's annual meeting, a "wait-and-see" approach is appropriate for men who have low-risk prostate tumors that have not spread. But many patients still opt for treatment, preferring not to take any chances.
And a Mayo Clinic study found a sharp rise after 2003 in the number of women diagnosed with breast cancer there who decided to have mastectomies rather than lumpectomies. Researchers said one possible explanation is that magnetic resonance imaging is detecting more growths than mammography.
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PODCAST & VIDEO: 3D Printing Replacement Body Parts
Regenerative medicine, a fledgling field with the aim of regrowing parts from a person’s own cells, is being amplified with 3D-printing technology, which can now use organic materials to create scaffolds that cells need to grow into their final forms. Richard Wysk, a professor of industrial and systems engineering at North Carolina State University, discusses the latest successes with this research, and the timeline for creating more complicated structures.
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