Deleting The Wrong Genes And Other Possible CRISPR Blunders
Stat takes a look at what can go wrong when humans start editing their genes. Also in the news, the secret to successful weight loss, the link between muscles and brain power, things you should know before getting a screening for colon cancer and a pilot program tries to tackle preterm birth rates.
They’re Going To CRISPR People. What Could Possibly Go Wrong?
Now that a federal biosafety and bioethics committee has approved what would be the first use of the trailblazing genome-editing technology CRISPR-Cas9 in people, the obvious question arises: Could anything go wrong? The purpose of such a Phase 1 clinical trial is to assess safety, so problems wouldn’t come as a total shock. The fact that the trial in cancer patients (which still needs OKs from the Food and Drug Administration, among others) would be funded by the new cancer institute founded this year by tech mogul Sean Parker adds a wild card. (Begley, 6/23)
The Fiscal Times:
Science Finally Knows Why Some People Succeed At Losing Weight
Swimsuit season is back. And that’s prompting many Americans to pick up abandoned New Year’s resolutions to cut calories or up their time at the gym. But to be successful, scientists say, you need to focus on short-term rewards. People who included immediate rewards in their pursuit of a long-term goal, such as losing weight or getting in shape, were more likely to stick with the diet or exercise program than those who didn’t, according to a recent study in the Journal of Consumer Research. (Herron, 6/23)
A Protein That Moves From Muscle To Brain May Tie Exercise To Memory
Researchers have identified a substance in muscles that helps explain the connection between a fit body and a sharp mind. When muscles work, they release a protein that appears to generate new cells and connections in a part of the brain that is critical to memory, a team reports Thursday in the journal Cell Metabolism. The finding "provides another piece to the puzzle," says Henriette van Praag, an author of the study and an investigator in brain science at the National Institute on Aging. Previous research, she says, had revealed factors in the brain itself that responded to exercise. (Hamilton, 6/23)
Kaiser Health News:
Colon Cancer Screening: Five Things To Know
It’s a predictable passage in life: Hit 50, get lots birthday cards with old-age jokes, a mailbox full of AARP solicitations — and a colonoscopy. But millions of Americans — about one-third of those in the recommended age range for colon cancer screening — haven’t been tested. Some avoid it because they are squeamish about the procedure, or worried about the rare, but potentially serious, complications that can occur as a result of it. Now, an influential panel has added some new choices, aiming to get more Americans screened for colorectal cancer, which is the second leading cause of cancer death in the U.S. (Appleby, 6/24)
Program Seeks To Reduce Preterm Births In Tennessee
Tennessee will be part of a pilot program to change prenatal care for women as UnitedHealth Group and March of Dimes partner on an initiative to tackle high preterm birth rates — a problem that is persistent across the state. The duo want to get health systems and individual practices to implement a group prenatal care group so pregnant women have an opportunity to talk with women in the same stage of pregnancy, facilitated by a health care provider. (Fletcher, 6/23)