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Category Archives: Human Reproduction
COVID-19, commonly known as the coronavirus, is the biggest story in the world right now, a global pandemic forcing radical changes in society. With people constantly talking about it, its no surprise that rumors and conspiracy theories are circulating all over the internet. Here are some of the more popular conspiracy theories and rumors, and what they get wrong.
The rumor: The Lancet, an old and distinguished medical journal, published a letter hypothesizing that anti-inflammatory drugs, like ibuprofen, might increase the risk of coronavirus infection by spurring the increase of a particular enzyme called ACE2.
French Health Minister Olivier Vran gave the idea an official backing with a tweet warning that ibuprofen could be dangerous.
The truth: The ibuprofen hypothesis was just that, a hypothesis. The Lancet letter was calling for investigation into the effects of drugs that stimulate ACE-2 .
One of the researchers involved, professor Michael Roth, later said, the letter does not constitute a recommendation to use certain drugs or not. Patients should always follow the instructions given by their physicians.
The World Health Organization (WHO) stated on March 18 that it does not currently have any evidence that ibuprofen exacerbates coronavirus. That said, ibuprofen has always had some negative side effects, and you should talk to your doctor if youre worried about them.
The rumor: Conspiracy theories make for great drama, and what could be more dramatic than learning that the coronavirus was engineered in a lab, a mad experiment run amok, or even released on society intentionally. This theory is surprisingly popular: According to a Pew survey, 23 percent of Americans think the virus was created intentionally in a lab, while an additional 6 percent think it was made accidentally.
The truth: While it might be fun to imagine coronavirus is a government creation (it would certainly make for a great HBO miniseries), science suggests the truth is that coronavirus came about through boring, old-fashioned natural selection.
In a study published in Nature, researchers analyzed the structure of the coronavirus to glean insights into how it may have evolved, and whether it might really have been man-made. First, they examined the viruss ability to bind to an enzyme called ACE2, which is found in the lungs, heart, and other organs. Although the coronavirus binds well to ACE2, the researchers noted that computational analyses predict that the interaction is not ideal and that the combination of high affinity with room to improve is most likely the result of natural selection on a human or human-like ACE2 that permits another optimal binding solution to arise. This is strong evidence that SARS-CoV-2 is not the product of purposeful manipulation.
The researchers also noted that, if humans had made the coronavirus, they would have used one of the previous human-compatible coronaviruses as a foundation, yet the genetic data indicates that COVID-19 was not derived from any previously used virus backbone. Instead, they find it likely that this coronavirus adapted, making the leap from animals (such as bats or pangolins) to humans.
The rumor: In times of plague, people naturally grow desperate for cures. Social media, with its lack of fact-checking, has been a breeding ground for rumors about miracle treatments to ward off the virus, including, shockingly enough, people recommending you drink bleach (dont).
The truth: Bleach is great for disinfecting household surfaces, not the inside of your body. People have turned to other supplements, such as colloidal silver, in the hopes of preventing the virus, but the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) maintains that these products are fraudulent and may even harm you.
Vitamin C has long had a reputation for boosting the immune system, and as a result, people are spreading claims that big doses of it can cure coronavirus. As Peter McCaffery, a professor of biochemistry, writes in The Conversation, although vitamin C is important for your body, past evidence indicates its unlikely that taking vitamin C will prevent or cure you of a COVID-19 infection.
The rumor: Coronavirus is no worse than the flu, and maybe even less dangerous. This is a common thread youll see in public discussions about the disease. Even President Donald Trump has compared the coronavirus to the flu, pointing out that the U.S. never shuts down over the latter.
The truth: There are certainly similarities between the coronavirus and the flu. Both can have similar symptoms (fever, cough, body aches, fatigue, pneumonia) and both can be spread through droplets.
For coronavirus skeptics, the flus high yearly numbers are a reason to dismiss coronavirus panic. There are a few reasons that the coronavirus is causing so much more panic, however. First, what we call the flu is actually a variety of different strains of viruses, whereas the coronavirus is just one virus, yet capable of doing all this damage. Second, coronavirus appears to spread more than the flu; the coronavirus has a reproductive number between 2 and 2.5, meaning that each person who gets it will infect 2 to 2.5 others, whereas the seasonal flu has about a 1.3 reproduction rate.
Finally, while the flu does kill a staggering number of people every year, it has a much lower mortality rate than the coronavirus so far. In fact, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, testified to Congress that coronavirus has a mortality rate 10 times that of the flu.
The rumor: An official in Chinas Foreign Ministry, Zhao Lijian, suggested that the U.S. Army started the virus, pointing to its presence at the Military World Games in Wuhan (where the pandemic began) in October.
The truth: All evidence points to Wuhan as the origin of the outbreak, but China first reported cases December 31. As for the soldiers involved in the Military World Games, the Pentagon reported no illnesses have been tied to American service members from October, according to the New York Times. One might suspect that, given its early failings in trying to downplay and suppress information about the virus, the Chinese government is now looking to keep the worlds attention elsewhere while it rehabilitates its image.
For the latest updates on the novel coronavirus outbreak, visit the World Health Organizations COVID-19 page.
Read more from the original source:
Conspiracy theories and myths about the coronavirus, debunked - Yahoo Tech
23 March 2020
New guidance has called for fertility clinics in the UK to minimise treatment amid the coronavirus pandemic.
UK fertility clinics have been asked to consider, but not ordered, halting fertility treatment services. While it will not be possible for most clinics to close completely due to their legal responsibility to maintain stored frozen embryosand gametes, they are asked to reduce their services to a minimum.
The guidance, issued on Wednesday by the British Fertility Society (BFS) and the Association of Reproductive and Clinical Scientists (ARCS), states that 'it is expected that UK licensed fertility centres will now be working to suspend treatments'.
This includes IVF, frozen embryo transfer, surgical sperm retrieval, intrauterine insemination (IUI) and ovulation induction procedures. The guidance is in line with recommendations from the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE), who have advised all those considering fertility treatment to 'avoid becoming pregnant at this time'.
The news comes after Belfast's Regional Fertility Centrepostponed fertility treatment for 33 patients last week following advice from the Belfast Health Trust (see BioNews1039).
The BFS and ARCS cited the promotion of social distancing and lack of long-term evidence on the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) and pregnancy as the rationale underlying their recommendations. They also urged fertility clinics to consider their 'wider social responsibility' to an already stretched NHS, as fertility treatment may cause complications in some patients.
The new measures have caused uncertainty for many undergoing or considering fertility treatment, with no indication of when the restrictions will be lifted. Speaking to the Huffington Post, Tracey Bambrough, co-founder of the magazine IVF Babble, said: 'For people who may already be experiencing a rollercoaster of emotions, the coronavirus has created an additional level of anxiety.'
Another patient told the Telegraph: 'I worry my time is running out. I may not get many other chances to do this.' After trying to conceive for two years, she was awaiting IUI treatment when her clinic cancelled all procedures due to the coronavirus a situation in which many patients may now find themselves.
She added: 'I had some hope we might finally have a chance. It felt like we were on the road to something. Now, everything hangs in the balance.'
Some say the measures discriminate against those who need fertility treatment to get pregnant. Speaking to the Huffington Post, one patient said:'Everyone keeps joking that there's going to be a baby boom in nine months [from couples self-isolating together] is there going to be a public health announcement to stop fertile couples from sleeping together?'
The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) have asked that clinics follow the guidance and are providing regular updates on their website.
Continue reading here:
Fertility clinics asked to suspend treatment due to coronavirus - BioNews
Mar 27, 2020 Spotlight News Parent Pages, Parenting Columns
By THERESA DAVIS
Why am I the only one who looks different?
Oh, boy. That is a question that covers biology, genetics and emotional support. If you really want to get your hands dirty, throw in sociology. Maybe even some socioeconomics, too!
If you think your adopted or foster child is too young to know about human reproduction, dont tell them how babies are made but why. Babies grow from love. Which is sometimes true. From there, one day, youre going to have to go into what is either going on with your childs birth parents or what happened between them that made them separate from each other or separate from your child. Oh, the joys of adoptive parenthood!
Your child is going to feel different in your family, especially if their race or ethnicity is different from your familys. You can explain briefly about genetics to your young child or go more in depth for an older one. It makes for a good homeschooled biology lesson.
Physical differences aside, your adoptive child may enjoy things that the adoptive family doesnt or may be the quiet one in a rowdy family crowd. Or your child may be more sensitive or react to stress differently than their adoptive family. Yes, your child will be different in some way to your family. Whats important is that those differences are celebrated.
Your child is unique. Encourage ownership of her differences while pointing out what you have in common. Your child will find her place in the family, because she is your family. Being a little different wont change that. Biology and genetics do make people who look and think and talk alike, but only love can make a family.
Theresa Davis is a former early childhood educator and has worked in childcare centers for more than 15 years. She is also an adoptive mother, living and taking care of her family in the Capital District.
Artificial intelligence has discovered 10 drugs to stop the reproduction of a new type of coronavirus in human cells. This was reported by the press service of the development company of the neural network, the biological startup Gero.
Gero Artificial Intelligence has analyzed the effects of various drugs and their potential use in the fight against SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus.
The developers calculations were based on the fact that the causative agent of SARS, a close relative of this SARS-CoV-1 virus, uses the COPI enzyme, which is found in human cells, to form new viral particles. Under normal conditions, this protein is involved in sorting other amino acid chains and packing them in special transport capsules. However, the virus changes its work and uses N to produce protein, a key part of its envelope.
Experiments have shown that if you block the operation of COPI, you can prevent the virus from multiplying. With the help of this neural network, scientists analyzed a thousand already created drugs of various kinds and found 18 drugs that could suppress COPI activity. At the same time, 8 of them were recognized as unsafe for humans, therefore, artificial intelligence focused on working with 10 drugs.
Two drugs from this list niclosamide and nitazoxanide originally created to combat parasitic worms, are already recommended for experimental treatment of patients in France and Singapore from coronavirus.
Read the original post:
The neural network has found drugs that can block the reproduction of coronavirus - FREE NEWS
By Fred Sheldon Mwesigwa
While I have been closely following the effects of secular ideology on the Western society, nothing prepared me for the academic documentary titled Demographic Winter that projected the declining population and attendant effect on the economies of these countries.
The main argument of the documentary is that although there is overwhelming proof of steady breakup of family, preference of a life without children and resultant low birth rate; social scientists and economists have avoided discussing the subject because it is not politically correct and raises moral and ethical questions.
The academicians argue that there is a kind of conspiracy to overemphasise the debate on the negative effects of climate change and population explosion instead of the projected decline in population, especially in Western civilisation.
According to population experts, the declining fertility rates that are leading to a drastic reduction in population is occasioned by industrial revolution, the sexual revolution, the women revolution, the individualistic revolution and the divorce revolution. The population explosion phase often referred to as the baby boom of the 1960s was subsequently followed by a period of growth in industry and prosperity.
The prosperity era according to Dr Gary Becker, originated an emphasis on work ethic and urbanisation and these did not favour growth of traditional family. The more wealthy people became, the more they prided in material possessions and the less in procreation and nurture of children.
The women revolution, according to Dr Janice Crouse, saw the emergence of feminism and the rise in opportunities of women to study and getting same employment opportunities as men. The sexual revolution, according to Dr Linda Waite, which redefined gender identity, is responsible for the decline in fertility since it resulted in reduced significance of traditional family.
The effect of the sexual revolution on demographics has been a declining fertility rate and thereby fewer children, which has negative effect on economic development. Unfortunately, population decline is not discussed in the media, lecture rooms and political platforms because it is not a politically correct subject in a post-modern or a postChristian era as some opine. Instead, there is overemphasis on womens rights, gay rights, environmental issues, which Dr Phil Longman argues, are mainly informed by the 1970s obsession with the population explosion theory, which is now a largely contested subject by demographers.
The dilemma with top scientists is that there are more questions than answers to the inevitable extinction of the human race since fewer children are being born yet their strongly held view is that we have a problem with increased population.
Relatedly, Dr Longman and Dr Mark Regnerus, question the pontifical scientific argument of Charles Darwin that the evolutionary biology of sex is all about reproduction. Dr Regnerus asks, How can this be when the most intelligent arent interested in reproducing themselves? Is this true among all species except humans? The irony, according to Dr Longman, is that the only section of humans that are interested in reproducing themselves, are people of faith, including Jews, Muslims, Christians and not the secularists, who are interested in promoting individualistic lifestyles that are anachronistic to sexual reproduction.
The only escape route out of the impending decline in fertility, thereby decline in family and subsequently economic decline is going to be a return to supporting traditional family as reflected by people of the book, best summed up by Dr Longman, I am not a church person, I work for a progressive secular think tank not faith based organisation but this research, perhaps may bring me to faith!
As the world is on tenterhooks over the deadly coronavirus that could wipe out the human race, it is most likely a vaccine will soon be discovered.
Rt Rev Dr Mwesigwa is the Bishop of Ankole Diocese and Chancellor Bishop Stuart University.
Women are being urged not to have IVF amid the coronavirus outbreak over fears the virus negatively affects pregnancy.
A statement issued by the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology says all couples considering fertility treatment should avoid becoming pregnant at this time.
It advised those who are already having IVF to consider freezing their eggs or the embryos they have created for a pregnancy until the pandemic is halted.
Meanwhile a mother-to-be is concerned hospitals will be overwhelmed when she is due to give birth next month.
Natalie Lyons, from Derby, is due to give birth to her second child in a month. She says she is doing her best not to panic, but is concerned about hospitals becoming overwhelmed and has struggled to get hold of supplies such as nappies.
The 33-year-old mother-of-one has followed the Governments advice and yesterday stopped her job as a hairdresser to start maternity leave three weeks early.
Im trying not to panic but when you have a baby you need all these supplies, and how are we meant to get them if were advised to stay inside?
ESHRE says all those considering or planning treatment to have a baby should put it on hold as a precautionary measure.
But many of the 68,000 women who choose to have IVF every year in the UK are in their late thirties and have little time to delay.
It comes following reports of women infected with coronavirus giving birth to premature babies in China.
However ESHRE which provides guidance for fertility clinics across Europe and in the UK notes the reports are based on limited data with no strong evidence.
In its statement, ESHRE said: As a precautionary measure and in line with the position of other scientific societies in reproductive medicine we advise that all fertility patients considering or planning treatment, even if they do not meet the diagnostic criteria for Covid-19 infection, should avoid becoming pregnant at this time.
The NHS today revealed it would send pregnant staff to lower risk hospitals in areas with few cases of the virus as the crisis escalates over fears for their safety.
And mothers-to-be are strongly advised to follow social distancing measures such as avoiding public transport, socialising in groups or going to the cinema or reataruants.
Despite this, the Royal College of Midwives yesterday urged them to attend antenatal appointments.
The UKs chief medical adviser, Professor Chris Whitty, said there is currently no evidence to suggest any coronavirus-related complications in pregnancy.
But he added the UK was still very early in what we know about this, stating: Infections and pregnancy are not a good combination in general and that is why we have taken the very precautionary measure while we try and find out more.
Yesterday the Prime Minister said millions of the elderly and most vulnerable will need to shield themselves from social contact and stay at home for three months.
But theadvice stopped short of defining explicitly who needs to stay at home.
Pregnant women in the UK are expected to be among those told in the coming days to self-isolate for 12 weeks and avoid non-essential contact with others.
Boris Johnson acknowledged that drastic action was required to quell the spread of the deadly coronavirus which has killed 55 and infected more than 1,500 throughout the country.
By the weekend, those with the most serious conditions will be advised to take steps to ensure they are largely shielded from social contact for around 12 weeks.
It comes afterNHS hospitals were told tocancel operations for three months in a bid to free up 30,000 beds in preparation for a surge in coronavirus patients.
In a call to arms letter sent to hospital bosses today, NHS Englandsaid trusts should cancel all non-urgent surgeries starting from April 15 for at least 12 weeks.
It is hoped the measure could free up a third of the 100,000 hospital beds in England so the health service is not overwhelmed by the pandemic.
Staff who have family members self-isolating at home will also be offered to stay in a hotel for free so they can continue working and not have to join them in quarantine.
The letter, which laid out the health services coronavirus battle plan, also called for all inpatients who are medically fit to be discharged immediately.
It stated that staff must take part in special training for dealing with a high number of patients on ventilators andbegin work setting up makeshift intensive care wards.
The call to arms comes after the UK suffered 407 more coronavirus infections and two more deaths.It means there are now officially 1,950 people with the disease and 71 have succumbed to it.
Any cancer operations and patients needing emergency treatment will not be affected by the new measures.
The letter from NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens said: The operational aim is to expand critical care capacity to the maximum; free up 30,000 (or more) of the English NHSs 100,000 general and acute beds.
Assume that you will need to postpone all non-urgent elective operations from 15 April at the latest, for a period of at least three months.
However you also have full local discretion to wind down elective activity over the next 30 days as you see best, so as to free up staff for refresher training, beds for Covid-19 patients, and theatres/recovery facilities for adaptation work.
In the meantime hospitals were told to do as much elective surgery, such as hip operations and knee replacements, as possible so that by mid-April there are thousands more free beds.
Sir Simon warned frontline staff that dealing with the outbreak was going to be a very difficult time.
He said those required to self-isolate because a family member has symptoms or has tested positive will be offered to stay in a hotel.
The letter adds: For those staff affected by PHEs 14 day household isolation policy, staff should on an entirely voluntary basis be offered the alternative option of staying in NHS-reimbursed hotel accommodation while they continue to work.
Pregnant, elderly and staff with underlying conditions will either be moved to lower risk hospitals in areas with few cases, according to the document.
Clinicians who fall under this category will be able to do online or video consultations from home.
As well as keeping staff healthy, Sir Simon said it was vital NHS staff were trained about how to care for ventilated patients.
He gave trusts two weeks to put all clinical and patient facing staff through refresher training.
Sir Simon added that patients who did not need to be in hospital should be discharged as quickly as possible adding: Community health providers must take immediate full responsibility for urgent discharge of all eligible patients identified by acute providers on a discharge list.
For those needing social care, emergency legislation before Parliament this week will ensure that eligibility assessments do not delay discharge.
This could potentially free up to 15,000 acute beds currently occupied by patients awaiting discharge or with lengths of stay over 21 days.
The letter confirmed that recently retired staff would be asked to return to the health service during the crisis and that medical students would be fast tracked into the NHS.
As the NHS ramped up its coronavirus efforts, the governments chief scientific adviser today revealed there are likely to be as many as 55,000 cases of coronavirusin the UK.
Sir Patrick Vallance said modelling of the spread of the disease in Britain showed that for every death there was likely to be 1,000 positive cases.
Latest official statistics put the death toll at 55 which means it is a reasonable sort of ballpark to think there are now more than 50,000 cases nationwide, he said.
Last week the government estimated the number of cases was likely to be between 5-10,000.