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Baby born to cancer survivor who had an immature egg frozen five years ago – Yahoo Lifestyle

Posted: February 19, 2020 at 11:45 pm

A baby has been born to a cancer survivor from an immature egg that was matured in the laboratory, frozen, thawed and fertilised.

In the first event of its kind, the unnamed woman was left infertile after being treated for breast cancer five years ago.

Before starting chemotherapy, the now 34-year-old had immature eggs removed from her ovaries.

Read more: Freezing your eggs: cost, process and everything else you need to know

In vitro maturation (IVM) enabled the eggs to develop in the laboratory.

The news may raise questions about how long frozen eggs should be stored.

Women who elect to freeze their eggs can store them for up to a decade in liquid nitrogen.

Cancer patients at risk of infertility from treatment may be able to store them for up to 55 years.

I saw the 29-year-old patient following her diagnosis of cancer and provided fertility counselling, said Professor Michal Grynberg from the Antoine Bclre University Hospital, near Paris.

I offered her the option of egg freezing after IVM and also freezing ovarian tissue.

She rejected the second option, which was considered too invasive a couple of days after cancer diagnosis.

Freezing ovarian tissue involves taking the outer layer of the organ, which contains a large number of immature eggs.

This allow more eggs to be frozen in one shot under very short notice, according to the Center for Human Reproduction.

Read more: Love Island star Amy Hart will 'definitely' freeze her eggs

Ultrasound scans revealed the woman had 17 small sacs containing immature eggs in her ovaries, her doctors wrote in the journal Annals of Oncology.

Medically known as an immature ovum, these eggs have not yet undergone the cell division required for fertilisation.

Egg freezing typically involves two weeks of hormonal injections to stimulate the ovaries to produce multiple eggs.

Doctors worried the use of hormones would prolong the process and possibly make her cancer worse.

An emergency procedure was therefore carried out six days later to collect immature eggs before she started chemotherapy.

Once matured, six eggs were frozen in liquid nitrogen, known as vitrification. This rapidly freezes eggs, minimising the development of damaging ice crystals.

Five years later, the woman had beaten her cancer but been unable to conceive for the past 12 months.

Stimulating her ovaries to produce more eggs may have triggered her cancer to return.

The doctors therefore thawed all six eggs, which were fertilised via intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI).

This involves injecting an egg with a womans partners sperm or that of a donor.

Five of the eggs were successfully fertilised, with one embryo being transferred to the womans womb.

She gave birth to her healthy son Jules on 6 July last year.

Read more: Menopausal delay surgery that costs at least 6,000 has no evidence

This is the first time a cancer patient has gone on to have a successful pregnancy after IVM and vitrification, her doctors claim.

Children have been born as a result of IVM after immediate fertilisation and transfer to the woman, without freezing.

We were delighted the patient became pregnant without any difficulty and successfully delivered a healthy baby at term, said Professor Grynberg.

Egg or embryo vitrification after ovarian stimulation is still the most established and efficient option.

IVM enables us to freeze eggs or embryos in urgent situations or when it would be hazardous for the patient to undergo ovarian stimulation.

This success represents a breakthrough in the field of fertility preservation.

Cancer patients can store their frozen eggs for up to 55 years, compared to 10 years for other women. (Getty Images)

Other experts were also optimistic.

Getting eggs to mature successfully after removal from the ovary has been a challenge, so this is a very welcome positive step, said Professor Richard Anderson from the University of Edinburgh.

It requires a different set of skills to normal IVF, so it isnt widely available, but this report shows it can work, when time is very short.

Freezing eggs at this stage also means they remain the womens own property, without the complication using a partners sperm to fertilise them brings, in that embryos are the couples joint property.

This advance is particularly important for cancer patients, but its also a step towards easier and less invasive IVF for other women and couples needing assisted reproduction.

Professor Alastair Sutcliffe, from the Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health, said caution must be exercised.

Nevertheless, this new technique could in future be an additional tool for women who have the tragedy of cancer before reproduction to have their own genetic child, he added.

One expert was quick to point out most cancer patients could afford to postpone treatment while they had hormonal injections to freeze their eggs.

Hormonal stimulation usually takes nine-to-11 days and can be started at any time in a womans cycle, and so should delay the start of cancer treatment by no more than two weeks, said Professor Adam Balen from Leeds University Teaching Hospital.

[In] the vast majority of cases, [this wait] has no bearing on the outcome of the treatment.

IVM enables faster progress to cancer treatment as the eggs are matured in the lab and so is a valuable option for those women where a delay could be critical, accepting the lower number of mature eggs that would then be frozen compared with the number anticipated after the stimulation of the ovaries for the collection of mature eggs.

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Baby born to cancer survivor who had an immature egg frozen five years ago - Yahoo Lifestyle

Recommendation and review posted by G. Smith

Cabinet clears Assisted Reproductive Technology Regulation Bill, aims to regulate IVF clinics – Deccan Herald

Posted: February 19, 2020 at 11:45 pm

The Union Cabinet on Wednesday cleared the Assisted Reproductive Technology Regulation Bill 2020, which would eventually pave the way to regulate in-vitro fertilization (IVF) clinics that mushroomed all over the country.

Once the bill is enacted, it would lead to the creation of a national board to lay down and implement a code of conduct for people working at such clinics besides determining the minimum standards of physical infrastructure, laboratory, diagnostic equipment and expert manpower to be employed by ART clinics and banks.

According to a registry maintained by the Indian Council of Medical Research, there are 1,269 ART clinics in India (as on November, 2019). The number swells up to 1,846 when ART clinics and ART banks are taken together.

Maharashtra has the maximum number of ART clinics (266) followed by Tamil Nadu (164), Delhi (113), Karnataka (102), Uttar Pradesh (92) and Gujarat (80). The number rises when ART banks too are taken into account.

However, registration with the ICMR is a voluntary exercise at the moment because of which many clinics don't take the trouble and prefer opacity while offering infertility treatment.

The need to regulate the ART services is to protect the affected women and children from exploitation. The oocyte (egg) donor needs to be supported by an insurance cover, protected from multiple embryo implantation while children born through ART should be provided all rights equivalent to biological children.

The bill intends to make genetic testing of the embryo mandatory before implantation for the benefit of the child born through ART, besides streamlining the cryo-preservation processes for sperm, oocytes and embryo.

The major benefit of the act would be regulation of the assisted reproductive technology services in the country. Consequently, infertile couples will be more ensured and confident of the ethical practices in ART clinics, said a government statement issued after the meeting.

Seeking to form a national registry and registration authority to maintain a central database and assist the national board in its functioning, the bill proposes stringent punishment for those practising sex selection, sale of human embryos or gametes and running agencies/rackets/organisations for such unlawful practices.

Over the last 12 years, the proposed legislation underwent several twists and turns. One of the major changes is dropping of surrogacy from the original draft as a new law has been readied to deal with such issues.

When a Select Committee of the Rajya Sabha reviewed the Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2020 passed by the Lok Sabha last year it suggested bringing out the ART bill before the surrogacy legislation so that technical issues related to artificial reproduction were sorted out before surrogacy happened in an ethical and legal fashion.

The ART bill may be introduced in the second half of the budget session beginning on March 2.

Read the rest here:
Cabinet clears Assisted Reproductive Technology Regulation Bill, aims to regulate IVF clinics - Deccan Herald

Recommendation and review posted by G. Smith

Saving an iconic herd of bighorn sheep on the brink of extinction – Buckrail

Posted: February 19, 2020 at 11:45 pm

JACKSON, Wyo. A public meeting last week discussing bighorn sheep will be followed up with another this Thursday as game management officials are hoping to craft solutionsfor the struggling species moving forward.

Teton Range Bighorn Sheep Working Group, in partnership with the University of Wyomings Ruckelshaus Institute, is engaging in a learning process to explore ways to balance the winter habitat needs of Teton Range bighorn sheep and backcountry winter recreation.

Last week, organizers discussed the history and importance of winter backcountry recreation in the Tetons, and how that might sometimes be at odds with bighorn sheep mortality and loss of habitat.

A meeting scheduled for Thursday, February 20 will dive deeper into bighorn sheep ecology, the perspective of recreationists, and hopefully begin coming up with some conceptual solutions. Further meetings are scheduled for March 5 and April 9.

Urgent help for the bighorn is needed

Better than any other animals the bighorns typify the Tetons, mountaineering legend Fritiof Fryxell has been quoted as saying. The iconic species has often become synonymous with the Mountain West. But in Jackson Hole, and nearly everywhere else, sheep are dying off in alarming numbers.

One such small, isolated herd of native bighorn sheep resides in the Teton Range. This Teton Range herd has seen its numbers cut in half in just the past 5-10 years, from about 125 animals to, maybe, 60-80.

They are really on the edge of going extinct, says Aly Courtemanch, wildlife biologist with Game and Fish and one of six members of the working group. A number of factors have gone into why they are so at risk. The biggest is human development and pressures have cut off this herd from traditional low-elevation winter range and from other bighorn sheep herds. Long-term fire suppression has also affected habitat quality and blocked access to some low elevation winter ranges.

These Teton Range sheep now resort to eking out a winter existence in rugged high country, enduring severe conditions on windswept ridges.

But wait, isnt that where bighorn sheep like to hang out anyway? Not in the old days. Sure, they like have a cliff face nearby for security, but lets face it, there aint much to eat when upper elevations are covered in snow.

In the early 1900s, human development in Jackson Hole and Teton Valley, Idaho cut off historic migration routes for the sheep. They used to spend winter in the valleys. By 1950, those routes were completely cut off, Courtemanch says. Bighorns now spend winter way up high in mountains where they are extremely vulnerable to mortality and disturbance, and there is really limited habitat at 10,000 feet.

How can the sheep be saved?

This Teton Range herd is broken up fairly evenly into two distinct sub-herdsthe northern group and a southern group. Genetic testing of the sheep shows the two groups do not interbreed, so they are, in essence, both dangerously low in population for genetic diversity or even existence for another decade or two.

These sheep are not part of the Jackson herd that includes those often seen on the Elk Refuge or in the Gros Ventre or down by Camp Creek.

Scientists have documented that Teton bighorn sheep avoid areas frequented by winter recreationists. In some cases, sheep have effectively lost up to 30% of the good winter habitat in the high country because of this displacement. Bighorn sheep that share winter habitat with humans frequently move to avoid them, burning energy, which can result in poor reproduction and starvation.

The Teton Range Bighorn Sheep Working Group is a public-private group of biologists working together since the early 1990sto conserve bighorn sheep.

This winter the groups goal is to create awareness with the public in particular, about the plight of bighorn sheep in the Tetons. Based on their conversations with interested parties, members of the working group may gather ideas on how to moderate winter pressure on bighorn sheep.

Other factors threaten the bighorn sheep in general including pressure from non-native mountain goats and diseasemost notably pneumonia. But the Teton herd has never had an outbreak of pneumonia. Its one of the reasons biologists are very reluctant to introduce outside sheep to bolster the population. They cant risk contamination.

The working group recently brought in eight bighorn sheep experts from around the West. They reviewed everything known to date, and were asked a hard question: Do we have any chance of recovering this population?

The experts agree the herd is on the edge but all is not lost, Courtemanch says.

Its that hope that keeps the group going. So far, backcountry users have been very sympathetic to the plight of the bighorns and have made some gestures about surrendering or sharing habitat in the winter.

It will take a community effort, but the iconic bighorn sheep herd of the Teton Range can be saved. What can you do to help? Find out Thursday, February 20from 6-9 p.m. in the GrandTeton Ballroom at the Snow King Resort

Teton Range Bighorn Sheep Working Group

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Saving an iconic herd of bighorn sheep on the brink of extinction - Buckrail

Recommendation and review posted by G. Smith

This Black History Month, right-wing media and abortion opponents should confront the anti-blackness of their movement – Media Matters for America

Posted: February 19, 2020 at 11:45 pm

This narrative of replacement theory is regularly raisedby right-wing media with false and racist claims about the dangers of demographic changes and declining birth rates. For example, Fox News' Tucker Carlson fearmongered about the George Soros solution to decreasing birth rates in Hungary, which he described as attempts to import a replacement population from the Third World. Carlson also claimed, At this rate, unless something changes dramatically, there will be no more Hungarians. In another instance, Fox & Friends co-host Ainsley Earhardt suggested abortion bans are policy solutions to correct the declining birth rates in America. Staunch abortion opponent and white nationalist Rep. Steve King (R-IA) also pushed this fearmongering rhetoric on CNN's New Day when he asserted, you cannot rebuild your civilization with somebody else's babies. You've got to keep your birth rate up.

Not only have right-wing media and anti-abortion groups amplified white supremacist rhetoric, they have also attempted to hijack language from the civil rights and abolitionist movements. Increasingly, anti-abortion extremists disavow the pro-life label, instead referring to themselves as abortion abolitionists. These abortion opponents favor the ideological purity of eliminating abortion altogether rather than restricting access with incrementalist approaches. Appropriating language from both the abolitionist and the civil rights movements, so-called abortion abolitionists attempt to make their extremism more tolerable by consistently compar[ing] themselves to anti-slavery abolitionists.

Right-wing media also seize on the opportunity to whitewash and co-opt the language of the civil rights and abolitionist movements. Right-wing news outlets such as The Federalist and National Review are quick to tokenize and appropriate the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s image to claim he would support harsh abortion restrictions when, in fact, King was a vocal supporter of Planned Parenthood and reproductive freedom.

Abortion opponents and right-wing media also consistently propagandize falsehoods about abortion that are immersed in anti-Black racism, such as falsely claiming that abortion advocates promote Black genocide. Dan Forest, the Republican lieutenant governorin North Carolina recently invoked the myth during an event celebrating King, stating, There is no doubt that when Planned Parenthood was created, it was created to destroy the entire Black race." Furthermore, Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant used similar rhetoric in a 2018 press conference, implying that black women are participating in the genocide of 20 million African American children through legal abortions.

Right-wing media have amplified this falsehood. For example, Fox News host Laura Ingraham, referred to Planned Parenthood on her podcast as slaughtering African Americans. Ingraham's sidekick Raymond Arroyo echoed her sentiment, repeating alarmist claims about Black genocide." Similarly, Pat Robertson has boosted this false narrative, alleging that Planned Parenthoodis an organization that's trying to set up Black genocide. Anti-abortion outlets such as have attempted to co-opt Black History Month by pushing this false claim.Declarations of Black genocide are unfounded and racist, no matter how many times right-wing media outlets attempt to claim otherwise.Reproductive rights advocates have consistently called out this falsehood as erroneous. Laurie Bertram-Roberts, executive director of Mississippi Reproductive Freedom Fund, refuted Bryant's allegations, stating, Black women are not committing genocide when the same women hes talking about are the mothers of black children. Bertram-Roberts explained to ThinkProgress how the anti-abortion movement seldom frames white women who have the most abortions in the country as having committed genocide and instead uses this tactic to shame and stigmatize Black women. As ThinkProgress wrote, abortion opponents and right-wing media tether abortion and racism because of the real history of medical racism" of the anti-abortion movement, such as the coerced sterilization of people of color throughout the 20th century. Attorney Shyrissa Dobbins clarified in the National Black Law Journal that the falsehood depends on denying Black women their humanity and their agency to make medical decisions regarding their reproduction."

Furthermore, right-wing media and abortion opponents perpetuate anti-Blackness by advancing the false equivalency between the constitutional right to abortion and slavery. In January, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos used this fallacy when she praised the Trump administration's unwavering support for anti-abortion causes at an event hosted by Colorado Christian University. The Colorado Times Recorder quoted DeVos' speech:

Read more:
This Black History Month, right-wing media and abortion opponents should confront the anti-blackness of their movement - Media Matters for America

Recommendation and review posted by G. Smith

Artificial intelligence makes a splash in efforts to protect Alaska’s ice seals and beluga whales – Stories – Microsoft

Posted: February 19, 2020 at 11:45 pm

When Erin Moreland set out to become a research zoologist, she envisioned days spent sitting on cliffs, drawing seals and other animals to record their lives for efforts to understand their activities and protect their habitats.

Instead, Moreland found herself stuck in front of a computer screen, clicking through thousands of aerial photographs of sea ice as she scanned for signs of life in Alaskan waters. It took her team so long to sort through each survey akin to looking for lone grains of rice on vast mounds of sand that the information was outdated by the time it was published.

Theres got to be a better way to do this, she recalls thinking. Scientists should be freed up to contribute more to the study of animals and better understand what challenges they might be facing. Having to do something this time-consuming holds them back from what they could be accomplishing.

That better way is now here an idea that began, unusually enough, with the view from Morelands Seattle office window and her fortuitous summons to jury duty. She and her fellow National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration scientists now will use artificial intelligence this spring to help monitor endangered beluga whales, threatened ice seals, polar bears and more, shaving years off the time it takes to get data into the right hands to protect the animals.

The teams are training AI tools to distinguish a seal from a rock and a whales whistle from a dredging machines squeak as they seek to understand the marine mammals behavior and help them survive amid melting ice and increasing human activity.

Morelands project combines AI technology with improved cameras on a NOAA turboprop airplane that will fly over the Beaufort Sea north of Alaska this April and May, scanning and classifying the imagery to produce a population count of ice seals and polar bears that will be ready in hours instead of months. Her colleague Manuel Castellote, a NOAA affiliate scientist, will apply a similar algorithm to the recordings hell pick up from equipment scattered across the bottom of Alaskas Cook Inlet, helping him quickly decipher how the shrinking population of endangered belugas spent its winter.

The data will be confirmed by scientists, analyzed by statisticians and then reported to people such as Jon Kurland, NOAAs assistant regional administrator for protected resources in Alaska.

Kurlands office in Juneau is charged with overseeing conservation and recovery programs for marine mammals around the state and its waters and helping guide all the federal agencies that issue permits or carry out actions that could affect those that are threatened or endangered.

Of the four types of ice seals in the Bering Sea bearded, ringed, spotted and ribbon the first two are classified as threatened, meaning they are likely to become in danger of extinction within the foreseeable future. The Cook Inlet beluga whales are already endangered, having steadily declined to a population of only 279 in last years survey, from an estimate of about a thousand 30 years ago.

Individual groups of beluga whales are isolated and dont breed with others or leave their home, so if this population goes extinct, no one else will come in; theyre gone forever, says Castellote. Other belugas wouldnt survive there because they dont know the environment. So youd lose that biodiversity forever.

Yet recommendations by Kurlands office to help mitigate the impact of human activities such as construction and transportation, in part by avoiding prime breeding and feeding periods and places, are hampered by a lack of timely data.

Theres basic information that we just dont have now, so getting it will give us a much clearer picture of the types of responses that may be needed to protect these populations, Kurland says. In both cases, for the whales and seals, this kind of data analysis is cutting-edge science, filling in gaps we dont have another way to fill.

The AI project was born years ago, when Moreland would sit at her computer in NOAAs Marine Mammal Laboratory in Seattle and look across Lake Washington toward Microsofts headquarters in Redmond, Washington. She felt sure there was a technological solution to her frustration, but she didnt know anyone with the right skills to figure it out.

She hit the jackpot one week while serving on a jury in 2018. She overheard two fellow jurors discussing AI during a break in the trial, so she began talking with them about her work. One of them connected her with Dan Morris from Microsofts AI for Earth program, who suggested they pitch the problem as a challenge that summer at the companys Hackathon, a week-long competition when software developers, programmers, engineers and others collaborate on projects. Fourteen Microsoft engineers signed up to work on the problem.

Across the wildlife conservation universe, there are tons of scientists doing boring things, reviewing images and audio, Morris says. Remote equipment lets us collect all kinds of data, but scientists have to figure out how to use that data. Spending a year annotating images is not only a bad use of their time, but the questions get answered way later than they should.

Morelands idea wasnt as simple as it may sound, though. While there are plenty of models to recognize people in images, there were none until now that could find seals, especially real-time in aerial photography. But the hundreds of thousands of examples NOAA scientists had classified in previous surveys helped technologists, who are using them to train the AI models to recognize which photographs and recordings contained mammals and which didnt.

Part of the challenge was that there were 20 terabytes of data of pictures of ice, and working on your laptop with that much data isnt practical, says Morris. We had daily handovers of hard drives between Seattle and Redmond to get this done. But the cloud makes it possible to work with all that data and train AI models, so thats how were able to do this work, with Azure.

Morelands first ice seal survey was in 2007, flying in a helicopter based on an icebreaker. Scientists collected 90,000 images and spent months scanning them but only found 200 seals. It was a tedious, imprecise process.

Ice seals live largely solitary lives, making them harder to spot than animals that live in groups. Surveys are also complicated because the aircraft have to fly high enough to keep seals from getting scared and diving, but low enough to get high-resolution photos that enable scientists to differentiate a ring seal from a spotted seal, for example. The weather in Alaska often rainy and cloudy further complicates efforts.

Subsequent surveys improved by pairing thermal and color cameras and using modified planes that had a greater range to study more area and could fly higher up to be quieter. Even so, thermal interference from dirty ice and reflections off jumbled ice made it difficult to determine what was an animal and what wasnt.

And then there was the problem of manpower to go along with all the new data. The 2016 survey produced a million pairs of thermal and color images, which a previous software system narrowed down to 316,000 hot spots that the scientists had to manually sort through and classify. It took three people six months.

Read this article:
Artificial intelligence makes a splash in efforts to protect Alaska's ice seals and beluga whales - Stories - Microsoft

Recommendation and review posted by G. Smith

More research needed in the field of nanotechnology – The Hindu

Posted: February 19, 2020 at 11:44 pm

Additional Deputy Commissioner Sadashiva Prabhu said on Wednesday that more research was necessary in the field of nanotechnology as it had immense potential in various fields.

He was speaking after inaugurating a national seminar on Advances in Nanotechnology and Environmental Chemistry for Sustainable Development organised by MGM College here.

Mr. Prabhu said that nanotechnology was affecting almost all sectors, including healthcare, food processing and biotechnology. Advances in nanotechnology would also help in conservation of environment, he said.

Registrar of Manipal Academy of Higher Education (MAHE) Narayan Sabhahith said that sustainability of environment was important. Population on the planet had increased rapidly in the last 200 years.

During the ancient times, the human settlement was along the course of rivers because people needed water to survive and for other purposes also, he said.

As long as population was less, there were no problems. But with the constant increase in population leading to the present levels, this had put a strain on the rivers and water bodies, he said.

High population had led to increase in pollution, which was putting pressure on environment. It was becoming unsustainable, he said.

The other problem was consumption of resources, which would pose a problem in the future. If the 10 % of the affluent population in the world reduced their consumption of resources, sustainability could be attained, he said.

Recycling and reuse of products should be given importance. Management of waste water was a big challenge in a small city such as Udupi. Hence, waste water management should be given importance, Dr. Sabhahith said.

Associate Professor, Department of Atomic and Molecular Physics, MAHE, Suresh D. Kulkarni, delivered the keynote address. College principal M.G. Vijay presided over the inaugural function. MGM PU College principal Malati Devi was present.

Arun Kumar B. welcomed the gathering. K. Bhaskar Acharya proposed the vote of thanks.

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More research needed in the field of nanotechnology - The Hindu

Recommendation and review posted by G. Smith

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