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Pharmacogenomics: What Is It and How Does DNA Testing for …

Posted: April 16, 2019 at 2:53 am

Pharmacogenomics, or the study of how genetics affect your bodys response to medications, is a relatively new and exciting field of science. Scientists are learning more each day about how genetic testing can be used to select the best medication for patients. Genetic testing can help a doctor determine whether a medication will be effective for a patient and provide dosing guidance. It can also help alert clincians to medications that might be potentially harmful to patients.

Genetic testing has become increasingly popular among doctors who prescribe psychiatric medication, in particular antidepressants. Finding the right mental health medication can sometimes be a slow process full of unpleasant side effects. Roughly 40% of people who take an antidepressant will stop taking the medication within the first three months because of side effects or because they believe the medication is ineffective. People who take antidepressants often complain of unpleasant side effects like nausea, sexual dysfunction, headaches, drowsiness, dry mouth, and increased anxiety. When a person experiences side effects, it is easy for them to become discouraged and assume that no medication will help their condition.

Side effects sometimes occur because people metabolize medications differently depending on their genetic code. For example, some people might metabolize an antidepressant more slowly, and a higher concentration of the medication in their body can cause unpleasant side effects. People who metabolize a medication very quickly might have fewer side effects but might need more of the medication to effectively treat depressive symptoms. Therefore, doctors are increasingly recommending genetic testing for depression medications to find the proper dosage and the right medication which may result in fewer side effects.

Take our 2-minute Depression quiz to see if you may benefit from further diagnosis and treatment.

Genetic testing is designed to be easy and painless. To complete the test, a laboratory collects a small sample of blood or saliva from the patient. The sample is usually sent to a pharmacogenomic testing laboratory to be analyzed. This lab sequences the DNA and analyzes any variations or changes in specific genes that are associated with how you respond to a particular medication. Testing for a specific kind of medication only has to be done once, but you may require additional pharmacogenomic testing if your doctor wants to evaluate you for another type of medication.

Because the field is still in its infancy, there is not pharmacogenomic testing available for every medication. But genetic testing is available for many of the medications that treat psychiatric conditions including anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, panic disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Here are just a few of the many psychiatric medications currently available for testing:

It is important to note that genetic testing is not always completely accurate. Because the field is still new, there are only a few studies supporting the claim that patients who undergo genetic testing for medication will have more positive outcomes than patients who do not. There also are limitations to what genetic testing can tell you about how your body will metabolize a medication. There is not one pharmacogenomic test that will provide information about all medications so you may need more than one test if you are taking more multiple meds. And, some medications cant be tested using this method (i.e. aspirin and other over-the-counter pain relievers).

Sometimes genes have a strong influence over how the medication works, and sometimes other factors are more influential. These factors can include gender, age, nutrition, smoking history, and pregnancy. Your other medical conditions and any medications you takeboth prescription and over-the-countercan also affect how medications are metabolized. Your doctor may take all of these factors into consideration when they prescribe you a medication and when they consider whether to recommend that you complete genetic testing.

Insurance coverage for genetic testing may vary depending on your insurance plan and personal history. You or your doctor may be required to submit documentation proving that you have a certain diagnosis or have experienced difficulty finding the right medication. It may be helpful to ask your healthcare provider for the specific procedure and medical billing codes for the lab tests theyd like to order before calling your insurance company about coverage. If your insurance doesnt cover the cost, check with the genetic testing company to see if they offer any payment assistancethese tests can cost a few hundred dollars.

Treating mental illness usually involves a combination of medication, psychotherapy, and psychoeducation. So its important to participate in other kinds of treatment and self-care activities while taking medication. Your diet, sleep, exercise, and other factors can also play a role in your mood and how your body responds to medication. As your body ages and develops, you may also find that medications will need to be adjusted by your doctor.

Talk to your doctor about whether genetic testing could be useful for helping you find the right medication. Patients who are in crisis or who have a history of difficulty in finding the right medication are sometimes more likely to be recommended for genetic testing. Your primary care doctor may also have to refer you to a psychiatrist to provide more specialized knowledge in selecting a medication or to evaluate whether genetic testing could be beneficial.

To prepare for your appointment, you may want to prepare notes about the following information:

Genetic testing isnt a magic solution to a persons mental health challenges, but it can sometimes provide your doctor with important information about how your body will metabolize certain medications. Many people, however, find the right medication for their symptoms without the use of genetic testing. So dont be discouraged if it is not an option or not covered by your insurance. It never hurts, however, to start a conversation with your doctor about your options. The testing may not inform him of the perfect medication, but it can alert a physician as to what medications are likely to cause adverse effects or be ineffective. So dont hesitate to talk to your healthcare provider about whether you might benefit from pharmacogenomic testing.

Last Updated: Jul 31, 2018

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Acquisition Of Futurism Suggests A Different Model For Digital-Media …

Posted: April 16, 2019 at 2:52 am

Not all digital media businesses are bloated, cash-burning hype machines that eventually collapse under their own weight amid apocalyptic warnings that no business model exists.

Not all of them ride high for a brief, shining moment in the chase formedia coverage and traffic, only to have the rug pulled out when Google or Facebook adjust their algorithms. And not all visionary founders end up with adisappointing exit.

Futurism Founder Alex Klokus.

If the product mix is right, and aggregating traffic at all costs isn't the objective, there's a chance to succeed as a businessand to make a difference. That's one takeaway from last month's sale of, a four-year-old site dedicated to coverage of science, to Singularity University, the technology-education community designed to facilitate global collaboration and innovation. SU offers courses, events and other activities, and is organized around local chapters. It was founded in 2008 by the author and futurist Peter Diamandis and the inventor, technologist and futurist Ray Kurzweil. It's backed by Google and Deloitte.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

New York City-based, with an audience of 10 million readers, gives SU a media platformofferingscience-oriented news and perspective. It also gives Singularity University access to branded-content capabilities that SU can offer to its clients and members.

Specifically, acquired three distinct Futurism units:

Media & Editorial.SU willuse Futurisms website to reach a much broader audience.In addition,SU enterprise customers get access to a targeted, engaged audience with a curiosity about the future and technology.

Creative Services.Futurisms team crafts custom digital assetsfor corporate clients.Anin-house team creates sizzle reels, campaigns, and unique content.

Film & Studio.Futurism produces short films and documentaries on technology innovation.

Gravity Products, Futurisms direct-to-consumer product company and home to the best-selling Gravity Blanket,was not part of the acquisition.

"At a time when so many publishers are facing strong headwinds, we see nothing but potential in joining the SU family, says Futurism founderAlex Klokus. "When I launched it a few years agopeople had no idea about the amount of change that was coming. We really try to make science cool and interesting again."

Futurism started in 2014 as a science page on Reddit. Every week for nearly 18 months, Klokus says, he posted a feature called "This Week in Science." The Reddit page was parlayed into a similar page on Facebook, and from there it expanded into a full-fledged businesswith Futurism Studios, a video-production operation, and branded content.

However, Futurism spokesman Matt Van Hoven says, Facebookforced a reckoningwith analgorithm change in 2018 that deemphasized publisher content, andFuturism had a decision to make:Either build organically or turn to another platform as a proxy for Facebook.

Futurism chose the former. It worked to build up itscoverage and increase brand content. It brought in Foster Kamer, a veteranof Gawker, Complex, Mashable, The Observerand other brands, and added James Del, another Gawker veteran, as publisher. The company now has 20 employees, and the strategy culminated in thesale toSingularity University.

The key to this outcome, Kamer suggests, was to focusto stop chasing traffic. "We had to reorient away from Facebook," he says. "We had to become more niche, and focus on doing more for fewer people. Theres power in the idea of being a quality publication people choose to find. Theres power intypingaURL inthe spacebar."

"We want to become part of peoples lives like that," Kamer continues. "Forget about gadget news, forget about video games, youll never read that on our site. Youre going to read about AI, blockchain, the future of transportation, cybersecurity, and morein a more fun way than scholarly journals."

Going forward,he says, the 2019 plan includes an old-school op-ed page. It'll be heavily curated, and willincorporate the voices of Singularity University leaders on many topics, whether crypto currency, AI, or emerging biotechnology. "We now have access to a lot of expertise that we didnt have before," Kamer says.

SU won't get involved in content creation at Futurism, andall Futurism units will continue to operate under the Futurism name.

From the business side its similar, Del saysthere's a lot of synergy between the kinds of companies Futurism has worked with and those that Singularity works with. So the goal will be to provideSingularity clients access tothe Futurism studios, and get Futurism clients into Singularity events and other programs. In addition, Del says, Futurism will be launching a new vertical coverage area,specifically in medical technology.

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What Is Regenerative Medicine? | Regenerative Medicine at the …

Posted: April 15, 2019 at 9:48 am

Regenerative medicine seeks to replace tissue or organs that have been damaged by disease, trauma, or congenital issues, vs. the current clinical strategy that focuses primarily on treating the symptoms. The tools used to realize these outcomes are tissue engineering, cellular therapies, and medical devices and artificial organs.

Combinations of these approaches can amplify our natural healing process in the places it is needed most, or take over the function of a permanently damaged organ. Regenerative medicine is a relatively new field that brings together experts in biology, chemistry, computer science, engineering, genetics, medicine, robotics, and other fields to find solutions to some of the most challenging medical problems faced by humankind.

When injured or invaded by disease, our bodies have the innate response to heal and defend. What if it was possible to harness the power of the body to heal and then accelerate it in a clinically relevant way? What if we could help the body heal better?

The promising field of Regenerative Medicine is working to restore structure and function of damaged tissues and organs. It is also working to create solutions for organs that become permanently damaged. The goal of this approach is to find a way to cure previously untreatable injuries and diseases.

1. Tissue Engineering and BiomaterialsTissue engineering is a strategy where biologically compatible scaffolds are implanted in the body at the site where new tissue is to be formed. If the scaffold is in the geometric shape of the tissue that needs to be generated, and the scaffold attracts cells the outcome is new tissue in the shape desired. If the newly forming tissue is subjected to exercise as it forms, the outcome can be new functional engineered issue.

Millions of patients have been treated with some form of tissue engineered devices, yet the field is in its infancy. The primary success stories have been with soft tissue regeneration. To learn more about some of the promising studies and clinical trials involving tissue engineering,click here.

2. Cellular TherapiesMany millions of adult stem cells are found in every human. Our body uses stem cells as one way of repairing itself. Studies have illustrated that if adult stem cells are harvested and then injected at the site of diseased or damaged tissue, reconstruction of the tissue is feasible under the right circumstances. These cells can be collected from blood, fat, bone marrow, dental pulp, skeletal muscle and other sources. Cord blood provides yet another source of adult stem cells. Scientists and clinicians are developing and refining their ability to prepare harvested stem cells to be injected into patients to repair diseased or damaged tissue.

To learn more about some of the promising studies and clinical trials involving cellular therapies,click here.

3. Medical Devices and Artificial OrgansIn cases where an organ fails, the predominant clinical strategy is to transplant a replacement organ from a donor. The principal challenges are the availability of donor organs, and the requirement that the donor take immunosuppression drugswhich have side effects. Further, there are many instances where the time to find a suitable donor organ requires an interim strategy to support or supplement the function of the failing organ until a transplantable organ is found. Using circulatory support as an example, there are technologies in various stages of maturity, initially using ventricular assist devices (VADs) as a bridge to a heart transplant, and now there are VADs that are used for long-term circulatory support (destination therapy).

Scientists and clinicians around the world are developing and evaluation devices to supplement or to replace the function of many organ systems including the heart, lung, liver and kidney.

To learn more about some of the promising studies and clinical trials involving medical devices and artificial organs, click here.

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Texas Tech Medical School, Under Pressure From Education Dept …

Posted: April 14, 2019 at 11:48 am

Soon after, the Health Sciences Center School of Medicine and Texas Tech University, the undergraduate campus in the Texas Tech system, announced that they would begin considering race in admissions. Mr. Clegg challenged the decision on the ground that race should be used only as a last resort.

But for the fall 2014 class, the undergraduate campus removed any consideration of race in admissions. As a result, the Education Department dismissed the case.

The department continued to investigate the Health Sciences Center, and found that the medical school was continuing to use race-conscious admissions, according to documents in the case.

The policies had a significant effect on the makeup of the medical school. Enrollment went from 9 percent Hispanic in the class that entered in 2004 to 16 percent in the class that entered in 2018. The university said that it was trying to recruit more Hispanic students in part to send more people to practice medicine in underserved communities in West Texas, according to documents in the case.

Mr. Clegg said the investigation, which had begun during the George W. Bush administration, had lasted through the Obama years, which suggests that even under a liberal Democratic administration, there were problems with admissions practices.

The medical school defended race-conscious admissions by saying it needed to recruit students who showed the cultural sensitivity that would allow them to serve racially diverse patients, according to a letter from the Education Departments civil rights office. Federal officials were concerned that the medical schools admissions process violated civil rights law.

Eric D. Bentley, vice chancellor and general counsel of the Texas Tech University System, said in a letter to the civil rights office that while the medical school believed it was in compliance with the law, it was agreeing to stop using race in admissions in an effort to resolve this matter and focus on educating future health care providers.

The decision was effective March 1, according to the agreement, and set a deadline of Sept. 1 to revise all admissions and recruitment materials to reflect the changes. It did not, the agreement said, constitute an admission that the university had run afoul of civil rights law.

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Genetic Engineering Pros and Cons in Human and Food …

Posted: April 14, 2019 at 11:46 am

Genetic Engineering Pros and Cons have been one of the hottest topics in life sciences. The first genetically modified organism to be created was a bacterium, in 1973. Genetic engineering applications are numerous now. It includes human genome improvement, birth defects treatment, gene therapy, genetic drugs, agriculture, food, dairy, veterinary, animal modeling, ecological control, material design, space biology, and technology.

The sharing of genetic material among living organisms is known to be a natural event. This phenomenon is known to be very evident among bacteria; hence they are called natures own genetic engineer. Such phenomenon is the inspiration of scientists in this endeavor.

According to a study published in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences at Harvard University, one major problem regarding the rise of GM organisms is that they can cause a reduction in the biodiversity (the difference in the traits of organisms) of plants and animals in the environment. This means that the DNA among the individuals in an environment will be more similar, against the principles of diversity and evolution.

Indeed, genetic engineering will always have two opposite sides. While the possibilities of what science can create are endless and the harmful effects are also present. At present, it is important to know the Genetic Engineering pros and cons, the real risks and benefits that lie in how genome science is used.

Before discussing Genetic Engineering pros and cons in detail, let have a look at what Genetic engineering is?

Genetic engineering is the process of manually adding new DNA to an organism. The goal is to add one or more new traits that are not already found in that organism. Examples of genetically engineered (transgenic) organisms currently on the market include plants with resistance to some insects, plants that can tolerate herbicides, and crops with modified oil content. Genetic engineering is used by scientists to enhance or modify the characteristics of an individual organism.

Genetic engineering is as much benefit in human life as we think. It has many advantages:

There are several types of potential health effects that could arise from the insertion of a novel gene into an organism. Critics disagree with the methods of genetic engineering because of:

Human genetic engineering is but one aspect of the overall field of Human Biotechnology. It is a fascinating aspect of Human Biotechnology with the power to improve everyones quality of life, healing all of our genetic diseases permanently. It carries the promise of enabling humanity to survive a wider range of environments on alien worlds ensuring our long-term survival. Human genetic engineering is coming. Science is about to solve some of the worst problems that can happen to people: cystic fibrosis, sickle cell anemia, Alzheimers and the many other devastating results that can come out of the random genetic lottery that is the reproduction.

Genetically modified foods, GM foods or genetically engineered foods, are foods produced from organisms that have had changes introduced into their DNA using the methods of genetic engineering as opposed to traditional crossbreeding. There are genetically engineered versions of tomatoes, poplars (for paper production) wheat and rice, but none are grown in the United States. The National Center for Food and Agricultural Policy estimates that 85 percent of U.S. corn is genetically modified.

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Human Genetic Engineering – New York Essays

Posted: April 14, 2019 at 11:46 am

Thesis: HGE has the potential to do many wonders, but there are those who believe that it also could be an abused technology. Should HGE be used be used to better ourselves as species or should it be strictly banned to prevent its abuse? By the end of my speech it is my hope that you have an idea of which way you think this technology should go. Credibility Statement: My information comes from credible sources and I tried to eliminate any potential bias from them.

This topic is important to me because it has the capacity to change my future and affect all of us on a personal level and because of this I avidly researched the topic to learn as much as I could about it. Preview Statement: During my speech I am going to give the background of genetic engineering, then explain the pros and cons of its use, and lastly cover the ethical concerns of the science.

We will write a custom essay sample on

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Transition: To understand where genetic engineering is going, I think it is important to understand where it has come from. I. The first path to HGE was paved in 1973 by two scientists named Herb Boyer and Stanely Cohen.

A. Herb and Stanly used enzymes to cut a bacteria plasmid and insert another strand of DNA in the gap. This offered the mixing of traits between two dissimilar organisms. 1. This was the invention of recombinant DNA. The first milestone in HGE. B. Since 1973, this has been made more controllable by the discovery of new enzymes to cut the DNA differently and by mapping the genetic code of different organisms. 1. Now that we have a better idea of what part of the genetic code does what, we have been able to make bacteria that produce human insulin for diabetics.

C. In 1990, a young child with an extremely poor immune system received genetic therapy. 1. A few of the childs white blood cells were genetically engineered and reintroduced into her bloodstream. 2. The new altered cells took over the weaker white blood cells and created a more functional, stronger, immune system. Transition: To this day relatively few people have had their cells genetically altered but these advances have made the idea of human genetic engineering seem more likely. II. We know how far it has come but now how far can it go?

This question has been at the epicenter of the human genetic engineering debate. Going over the pros and cons to the science may give some insight on this question. A. The number one pro is that HGE can be used to cure illness. 1. Hereditary diseases could be eliminated by the altering of the mutations through germline gene therapy which would then pass the fixes onto the descendants eliminating the diseases heredity. B. Human genetic engineering also has the potential to overcome infertility. 1.

This can be done by using the eggs from a different mother, giving the child three genetic blueprints instead of two. C. HGE can (once improved) be used to enhance the intelligence of all people. a. This would improve society because we would have less of a chance to make harmful decisions that could harm society as a whole. (Maybe this could fix our budget problems within the government ) Transition: From a pro standpoint, human genetic engineering sounds very promising however; saying that something can be done and actually accomplishing it are two very different things.

III. The cons of HGE may be just as strong as the pros. A. The use of genetics to prevent illness is a great theory but scientists have no way of knowing where a new gene will go once reintroduced into the DNA strand. 1. The science is far from perfected and sequences of genes carry out a number of different functions so when trying to alter one thing in the genome scientists can accidentally alter many others. B. The process of HGE itself can generate new mutations. 1. These new mutations would be passed onto the future generations. 2.

It is a fear that with human genetic engineering that there is just simply too much room for error and we could create an entire population of genetically mutated humans. C. Lee Silver, the author of the book Remaking Eden proposed the concept that HGE can create an even bigger gap between classes. 1. Those who could afford genetic alterations would reap all of the benefits and those who couldnt afford it would be genetically inferior. 2. Ultimately this would lead to a class system of rich genetically engineered super-humans and poverty stricken normal humans. Transition: The genetic engineering of humans holds many ethical concerns.

IV. One of the ethical concerns of HGE is the curing of infertility. A. As I mentioned earlier infertility can be overcome by using eggs from a third party mother giving the child of such a procedure a third genetic blueprint. 1. The main concern is that only time will tell what the effects of this third blueprint will be in the descendants of person who had three genetic blueprints. This could consequently affect the entire human race. B. Another ethical concern is that we are playing God by altering the human genome and basically creating humans the way we want to. C.

The last ethical concern is that genetic engineering holds the potential for parents to assemble their children genetically. Transition: Even if human genetic engineering is not completely predictable many think that it is time to start implementing the technology on a grander scale. Conclusion: Signpost: In this I conclude that although HGE can be radical advancement to ourselves as a species, it has yet to be perfected and its outcomes to be predicted. Summary: Boyer and Cohen started something that today has the capacity to destroy hereditary diseases, cure infertility, and improve the intelligence f society for its safety. It also has the capacity to generate new and unpredictable mutations, create a gap between classes in society, and altering not just one thing in the genome but many without know the repercussions. Lastly it has garnered many ethical concerns from playing God, to third genetic blueprints, and parents assembling their children genetically. Clincher: I end with this: if we decide that the genetic engineering of humans is in fact too dangerous would there be a way for us to stop it?

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