Healthcare & Lifescience Talking Points | 15/02/2017

In today’s talking points, Creating life with skin cells; Doubling dialysis does not improve quality of life for patients; A case of black lung disease emerges in New South Wales, Australia.

Creating Life with Skin Cells

Research suggests that eggs and sperm may no longer be needed to make a baby. The birth of mice using eggs made from parent skin cells was recently reported by scientists in Japan. This process – in vitro gametogenesis (IVG) – enables eggs and sperm to be made in a culture dish in a laboratory. Alan Trouson of the Hudson Institute of Medical Research at Monash University said that IVG may be able to provide hope for couples, for whom current methods of in vitro fertilisation may not be possible. Of course with these findings, a number of legal and ethical implications arise. Scientists estimate that it could be decades away before IVG could be performed in an evidence based, responsible and government approved manner. According to George Daley, co-author of the recent editorial in the journal Science Translational Medicine – the leading scientists are in Japan and China. He also remarked that the first human IVG experiments are likely to be performed in Asia as laws are generally less restrictive.

Read more at CNN
Doubling dialysis does not improve quality of life for patients

Doubling amount of dialysis does not improve condition and quality of life for patients with kidney problems, according to results from a study conducted by The George Institute for Global Health. This is contrary to views adopted by most clinicians, that longer dialysis contributes to better outcomes and quality of life for patients. In the study, patients at 40 hospitals including Australia, Canada, China and New Zealand were monitored over a 12 month period. Out of 200 patients, 100 patients were selected to receive standard dialysis for 12 hours while another 100 patients were exposed to 24 hours per week.  Minor improvement was seen only in a few aspects of quality of life. In Australia, 11,000 people a year receive dialysis. Costs for the Australian health system is estimated to be $80,000 AUD per patient, with this figure expected to increase over the next decade with the rise of diabetes – a leading cause of kidney failure.

Read more at eurakalert

A case of black lung disease emerges in New South Wales, Australia.

Reemergence of black lung disease – a coal industry disease has been reported in one patient in New South Wales, Australia. It is potentially fatal and kills 1000 miners in the U.S. and more than 6000 in China. This lung condition also known as coal workers’ pneumoconiosis has not been heard of since the 1970s. However since May 2015, 15 cases have been diagnosed in Queensland, which has triggered a red alert for the coal mining industry. The disease causes patients to cough up black balls of mucus. Lee Shearer – a Resources Regulatory compliance officer says that the agency is investigating how the disease originated.

Read more at: iTechPost