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Same-Sex Couples May One Day Have Biological Children, Researchers Say

Pekic/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — A stem cell research break­through might some­day allow same-sex cou­ples to have their own bio­log­i­cal children.

Researchers at Cam­bridge Uni­ver­sity in Eng­land have taken the first steps towards cre­at­ing arti­fi­cial sperm and eggs by repro­gram­ming skin cells from adults and con­vert­ing them into embryonic-like stem cells. The team then com­pared the engi­neered stem cells with human cells from fetuses to con­firm they were in fact, identical.

The researchers pub­lished their find­ings in the jour­nal Cell ear­lier this week, stress­ing that it’s early days for this type of research.

We have suc­ceeded in the first and most impor­tant step of the process,” Dr. Jacob Hanna, an inves­ti­ga­tor with the Weiz­mann Insti­tute of Sci­ence in Israel, told ABC News.

Hanna said the team will now attempt to com­plete the process by cre­at­ing fully devel­oped arti­fi­cial sperm and eggs, either in a dish or by implant­ing them in a rodent. Once this is achieved, the tech­nique could become use­ful for any indi­vid­ual with fer­til­ity prob­lems, he said, includ­ing cou­ples of the same sex.

It has already caused inter­est from gay groups because of the pos­si­bil­ity of mak­ing egg and sperm cells from par­ents of the same sex,” Hanna said.

How­ever, the prospect of cre­at­ing a baby by these arti­fi­cial means alone is prob­a­bly a long way off, Hanna said.

It is really impor­tant to empha­size that while this sce­nario might be tech­ni­cally pos­si­ble and fea­si­ble, it is remote at this stage and many chal­lenges need to be over­come,” he said. “Fur­ther, there are very seri­ous eth­i­cal and safety issues to be con­sid­ered when and if such sce­nar­ios become con­sid­ered in the dis­tant future.”

The research was funded by the Well­come Trust and the Britain Israel Research and Aca­d­e­mic Exchange Partnership.

Fol­low @ABCNewsRadio
Copy­right © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

 

Bionic Eye Lets Blind Man See Wife for First Time in 10 Years

Cour­tesy Mayo Clinic(NEW YORK) — It was love again at first sight for a man who went blind 10 years ago.

Allen Zderad, a 68-year-old retiree from Min­nesota, saw his wife for the first time in more than a decade thanks to a bionic eye implanted by doc­tors at the Mayo Clinic ear­lier this month.

Thank you,” Zderad said in the touch­ing scene cap­tured on video. “It’s crude but it’s sig­nif­i­cant. …It’ll work.”

Who do you see?” His wife Car­men asked Zderad just before the two hugged each other in a long, tear­ful embrace.

Zderad has retini­tis pig­men­tosa, a degen­er­a­tive con­di­tion that attacks the retina. There is no treat­ment or cure for the dis­ease. He told ABC News his vision grad­u­ally dete­ri­o­rated over a 20-year period until he was only able to sense very bright light.

After his grand­son was diag­nosed with the same con­di­tion last year, Zderad was recruited by the Mayo Clinic and Sec­ond Sight, the implant’s maker, to test out the device. Dr. Ray­mond Iezzi Jr., a Mayo Clinic researcher and oph­thal­mol­o­gist, per­formed the surgery.

The bionic eye implant sends light wave sig­nals to the optic nerve, bypass­ing the dam­aged retina, a state­ment from the Mayo Clinic explained. In Jan­u­ary, a tiny wafer-like chip was embed­ded in Zderad’s right eye. Two weeks later, the eyeglass-style pros­thetic device was activated.

Zderad described his new-found abil­i­ties as “arti­fi­cial sight.” He is able to make out shapes, forms and out­lines in inter­mit­tent flashes. Every­thing is in black and white now, but with train­ing and peri­odic upgrades over a five-year period he is con­fi­dent that he will begin to see more sharply, he told ABC News.

What an excit­ing, emo­tional thing to say that, ‘Yes, that is my wife,’” Zderad said. “I am grate­ful they made this as much about the per­son as the technology.”

Fol­low @ABCNewsRadio
Copy­right © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

 

Heart Attacks: Women at Greater Risk for Fatal Ones, Study Finds

zaganDesign/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — An impor­tant alert about heart dis­ease from a new study finds that too many women fail to rec­og­nize the symp­toms until it’s too late.

Heart dis­ease kills one in three women every year.

Young women are espe­cially vul­ner­a­ble because they often don’t rec­og­nize the signs and symp­toms of heart trouble.

Researchers at the Yale School of Pub­lic Health inter­viewed 30 women between the ages of 30 and 55, who had heart attacks. All of these women delayed treat­ment because they didn’t rec­og­nize the symp­toms or lacked knowl­edge about their risk fac­tors, the researchers found.

What we know is that the signs and symp­toms of a heart attack in women can be very vague and they can mimic the signs and symp­toms of some­thing very com­mon things,” ABC News med­ical con­trib­u­tor Dr. Jen­nifer Ash­ton told Good Morn­ing Amer­ica.

Rosie O’Donnell was just 50 when she had a heart attack in 2012. Even though she had symp­toms, she delayed seek­ing treat­ment for more than a day, she has admitted.

Igno­rance alone could be respon­si­ble for the more than 15,000 women who die each year from a heart attack in the U.S, the researchers spec­u­lated. It could also explain why women under the age of 55 have twice the risk of dying dur­ing hos­pi­tal­iza­tion for an acute heart attack than men in the same age group.

The clas­sic scene where a man clutches his chest and col­lapses to the ground may not nec­es­sar­ily apply to women, accord­ing to the Amer­i­can Heart Asso­ci­a­tion. In real­ity, symp­toms for a woman may be far less dramatic.

Chest pain is still the most com­mon symp­tom of a heart attack,” Ash­ton said. “There can be short­ness of breath and almost flu-like symp­toms includ­ing nau­sea, abdom­i­nal pain and vomiting.”

Symp­toms may start sev­eral days or even weeks before a major heart attack, Ash­ton added.

Other com­mon heart attack symp­toms for women include pain or dis­com­fort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stom­ach, the Amer­i­can Heart Asso­ci­a­tion noted. If you have any of these signs, the asso­ci­a­tion urges you not to wait more than five min­utes before call­ing for med­ical help.

Fol­low @ABCNewsRadio
Copy­right © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

 

If Your Maternal Grandpa Is Bald, Will You Go Bald?

indigolotos/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Young men have often won­dered, “Will I go bald?” and the old adage, “If your mom’s dad is bald, you’ll go bald” is com­monly applied.

But, gen­tle­men, if your mom’s dad is bald, don’t wig out just yet. While there may be a hair of truth to the old say­ing, it def­i­nitely doesn’t tell the whole story.

Dr. Ash­ley Win­ter spe­cial­izes in urol­ogy at New York Pres­by­ter­ian Hos­pi­tal but also knows a thing or two about the genet­ics behind bald­ness. She reports on the sub­ject: “The main gene we blame for male pat­tern bald­ness is on the X chromosome…the X chro­mo­some they inherit from their mother can come from either their mother’s mother or their mother’s father, mean­ing that tar­get blame­ful gene can come from your mom’s mom or your mom’s dad.”

She also goes on to explain that the gene for bald­ness doesn’t act inde­pen­dently, and is affected by a lot of other genes that are inher­ited in dif­fer­ent ways.

So, basi­cally, the big bad bald truth is that any­one who gives you genetic mate­r­ial can make you go bald,” Win­ter said.

Fol­low @ABCNewsRadio
Copy­right © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

 

When It's OK to Discipline Someone Else's Kids

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Pic­ture this: Your child is at a play date and you stop by to pick her up. As you walk into the family’s yard, you see your child cry­ing and what appears to be the mom who is host­ing the play date scold­ing her.

How would you feel?

In her recent arti­cle for Babble.com, Chau­nie Brusie details the tale. Except that she’s the mom dol­ing out the discipline.

The short ver­sion: Brusie’s daugh­ter and the other child got into an argu­ment over a swing. The friend breaks into sobs. Brusie, who is a few steps away, starts to make her way over to the girls and says, “I can’t hear you if you’re cry­ing, honey!”

Brusie writes: “I admit that I may have sounded slightly uncon­cerned to her plight and I admit that I may have sighed that sigh of tired moth­ers every­where as I said it, but I swear my inten­tions were sim­ply to dis­tract her from cry­ing so I could rem­edy the swing situation.

But it was at the exact moment that the words left my lips that I saw her.

The girl’s mother.

Who had just come into the yard to wit­ness two things: 1) Her daugh­ter cry­ing hys­ter­i­cally and 2) a woman she barely knew basi­cally scold­ing her for crying.

I was beyond mor­ti­fied and even more embar­rassed when the woman pretty much sprinted to her daugh­ter, scooped her up, and made the hasti­est of hasty retreats.”

After the inci­dent, the rela­tion­ship “kind of dete­ri­o­rated,” Brusie told ABC News.

Despite what hap­pened, which she said “looked a lot worse than it was,” Brusie did not and doesn’t “ever think it’s appro­pri­ate” to dis­ci­pline some­one else’s child. “There is so much going on ‘behind the scenes’ so to speak with some­one else’s child that you aren’t privy to, so you really can’t know what’s going on enough to be able to dis­ci­pline them effectively.”

Plus, “I’ve never been a fan when peo­ple have dis­ci­plined my child,” she said.

Par­ent­ing expert Amy McCready, founder of Pos­i­tive Par­ent­ing Solu­tions and author of If I Have to Tell You One More Time…, said see­ing your own child dis­ci­plined by another adult can be very difficult.

Assume the other per­son did it out of love,” she said. “It’s nat­ural to feel like we’re being judged and get defen­sive but if we can assume the per­son did it from a place of love, we’re more likely to respond with kindness.”

She added, how­ever, that if the direc­tion or rep­ri­mand goes against how you par­ent, you should “calmly let the other per­son know you han­dle things dif­fer­ently and you’ll address the issue with the child in private.”

And while McCready gen­er­ally advises against dis­ci­plin­ing other people’s chil­dren, say­ing, “any­time chil­dren are involved parent’s emo­tions are height­ened,” there is one time where it is com­pletely appro­pri­ate. “If the child is in dan­ger then, of course, you should inter­vene swiftly and with­out hesitation.”

Fol­low @ABCNewsRadio
Copy­right © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

 

The Tooth Fairy Was Particularly Generous Last Year

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — For those who con­stantly com­plain that kids have it bet­ter than we ever did, here’s some more ammu­ni­tion: Delta Dental’s “The Orig­i­nal Tooth Fairy Poll” says that young­sters today get an aver­age of $4.36 for every tooth they shove under the pillow.

That’s a con­sid­er­able increase from the $3.50 left in 2013. Over­all, it works out to some­thing like $255 mil­lion for all the teeth col­lected in 2014.

In all, the Delta Den­tal poll says that the Tooth Fairy showed up at just over eight in ten of the homes where a tooth dropped out, with first-timers gen­er­ally get­ting the biggest cash amount — an aver­age of $5.74 — in 40 per­cent of the cases.

How­ever, being some­what prag­matic, the amount deposited by the Tooth Fairy is gen­er­ally deter­mined by how much spare cash is around and the age of the child.

Mean­while, the best cash rewards are made in the South — a whop­ping $5.16 on aver­age — while the sit­u­a­tion in the Mid­west is much leaner with just $2.83 left per tooth.

As for how appre­cia­tive the kids are, about 17 per­cent will com­plain they expected more money while 11 per­cent will want a gift in addi­tion to or instead of the cash.

Fol­low @ABCNewsRadio
Copy­right © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

 

How a Motorist Can Pass Out from Cigarette Smoke

iStock/Thinkstock(LEICESTER, Eng­land) — A lot of smok­ers in Eng­land aren’t par­tic­u­larly happy with a new law going into effect this Octo­ber that will make it ille­gal to smoke inside cars where chil­dren are passengers.

Nat­u­rally, it comes down to the eter­nal con­flict between civil lib­er­ties and pub­lic health although sci­ence seems to have won this argu­ment based on stud­ies that show the harm that can be caused to oth­ers by sec­ond– and even third-hand smoke.

Some of the most ardent oppo­nents of smok­ing also point to the dan­ger of car­bon monox­ide poi­son­ing since the smoke from cig­a­rettes con­tain that toxic gas.

So in the inter­est of sci­ence, stu­dents from the Uni­ver­sity of Leices­ter Depart­ment of Physics and Astron­omy devel­oped a model to deter­mine how much one would have to smoke inside a sealed car before they become uncon­scious by CO.

The results of the study prob­a­bly give smok­ers some mea­sure of sat­is­fac­tion because the stu­dents fig­ured out it would take a per­son smok­ing 15 cig­a­rettes over the course of 75 min­utes to pass out from car­bon monox­ide. Even the most addicted chain smoker would prob­a­bly get sick before reach­ing that point.

Still, the study doesn’t let smok­ers off the hook entirely because CO mol­e­cules linger in cars even when the win­dows are open, mean­ing they pose a health threat to any­one rid­ing inside a smoky vehicle.

Fol­low @ABCNewsRadio
Copy­right © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

 

Washing Dishes Also Protects Your Immune System

iStock/Thinkstock(GOTHENBURG, Swe­den) — Sure, auto­matic dish­wash­ers are a fast and con­ve­nient way to get your plates, cups and uten­sils clean but are you inad­ver­tently boost­ing your kids’ chances of devel­op­ing aller­gic conditions?

Researchers at Queen Sil­via Children’s Hos­pi­tal in Gothen­burg, Swe­den, believe that fam­i­lies are bet­ter off wash­ing dishes the old fashioned-way, that is, in the sink, because it fits into what’s termed the “hygiene hypothesis.”

Pure and sim­ple, the sci­en­tists, led by Dr. Bill Hes­sel­mar, believe that the more peo­ple are exposed to dif­fer­ent microbes, the greater the like­li­hood they’ll develop resis­tances to aller­gic con­di­tions that include asthma and eczema.

Hes­sel­mar and his team exam­ined the health records of 1,000 kids per­tain­ing to sea­sonal aller­gies, tak­ing into con­sid­er­a­tion var­i­ous extra­ne­ous fac­tors that can cause these con­di­tions, and dis­cov­ered that chil­dren whose fam­i­lies washed dishes by hand had a far lower rate of asthma, eczema and sea­sonal aller­gies than in homes where dish­wash­ers were used.

Although the researchers didn’t go as far to say that there was a direct cause-and-effect rela­tion­ship between reduced aller­gic con­di­tions and hand-washing dishes, the results seem to ver­ify other stud­ies that sup­port more nat­ural expo­sure to microbes to build up the immune system.

Fol­low @ABCNewsRadio
Copy­right © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.