Stem Cells With Heart
ASSOCIATED PRESS, Sept. 8 — Japanese researchers have discovered stem cells in human heart tissue, a development that could lead to improved treatments for heart disease and reduce the need for transplants, a Japanese newspaper reported.
The breakthrough came by a team of scientists at Kyoto University.
The researchers gathered heart tissue from 50 patients suffering heart disease and were able to culture stem cells from the samples that developed into different types of cells, including heart muscle cells, blood cells and neurons, the report said.
Injections of the cells into a mouse that had suffered an embolism helped the animal regenerate damaged heart muscle and blood vessels.
Similar tests are planned on dogs and pigs before conducting clinical tests on humans as early as next spring, said the Associated Press.
Drug Use Down
CBS NEWS, Sept. 8 — Teen use of marijuana, cocaine and other illicit drugs was down 9% in 2004, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Teen cigarette smoking also fell. But underage drinking didn't improve, according to the 2004 National Survey on Drug Use and Health.
Trends for young adults (aged 18-25) included a continued drop in tobacco use and a rise in non-medical use of some pain relievers for young adults.
In an earlier story on positive trends for teenagers — including a decline in teenage deaths due to drunk driving — The New York Times reported that “discipline” in the form of harsher penalties for drunken driving and other behaviors has played a positive role.
India Steps Up for Life
ASIANEWS.IT (Italy), Sept. 1 — The central Indian state of Chattisgarh has announced that it will not enforce the controversial two-children-per-family norm designed to curb the nation's population growth.
The change of heart by state leaders is a response to sharp criticism of the two-child norm by federal government leaders, who have objected to policies that use coercion or quotas to curb population growth.
Several Indian states have enacted laws that bar families with more than 2 children from receiving housing loans, holding government jobs, or gaining admission to public schools.
Brits Favor Abortion Limits
Fifty-eight percent favored a 20-week restriction and 33% of women favored a limit of 12 weeks or less.
The survey also found that 48% said abortion should not be free on demand and 60% were opposed to cloning human beings while 77% said parents should not be allowed to select the sex of their own children.
Pharmacists Luke Vander Bleek and Glenn Kosirog, who are being assisted by lawyers from the Americans United for Life, claim the rule violates their rights under the Illinois Health Care Right of Conscience Act, which permits health-care personnel to refuse to “act contrary to their conscience.”
“[Pharmacy is] a profession I entered to ease suffering and pain,” Vander Bleek said. “I really don't see a place for … giving out abortifacients.”