Can Baby Powder Really Cause Ovarian Cancer?

A jury has ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay $417 million in damages to a 63-year-old woman in Los Angeles who developed ovarian cancer after using the company’s talc-based baby powder for decades. Like many women who use baby powder to freshen up or reduce chafing between their thighs, on their genitals, or in their underwear, Eva Echeverria was unaware for many years of the potential link between ovarian cancer and talc, an ingredient in some types of baby powder. This isn't the first time the company has been involved in a lawsuit over its popular powder—and it will likely face hundreds more cases in the future, according to Reuters. In May, a Missouri jury awarded $110 million to a Virgin

Flame retardants may hinder infertility treatments, study suggests

Researchers have linked higher exposure to a type of flame retardant to a greater likelihood that in vitro fertilization (IVF) won't work. "Couples undergoing IVF and trying to improve their chances of success by reducing their exposure to environmental chemicals may want to opt for products that are flame retardant-free," said senior study author Russ Hauser. He is a professor of reproductive physiology at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston. The study is said to be the first to look at possible connections between pregnancy and exposure to organophosphate flame retardants, also known as PFRs. These are used in the manufacturing of polyurethane foam products, and are fou

China’s embrace of embryo selection raises thorny questions

Fertility centers in China are making a massive push to increase preimplantation genetic diagnosis in a bid to eradicate certain diseases. Getting time with Qiao Jie is not easy. At 7:30 a.m., the line coming out of the fertility centre that she runs blocks the doorway and extends some 80 meters down the street. Inside, about 50 physicians on her team are discussing recent findings, but Qiao, a fertility specialist and president of Peking University Third Hospital in Beijing, is still in an early-morning consult. When she finally emerges, she jumps to the topic at hand: spreading awareness of preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD), a procedure that helps couples undergoing in vitro fertiliz

World's Largest Gathering of Twins

If you unwittingly pass through this Midwestern town on the first weekend in August, you might think you’ve stumbled into a mirrored funhouse. Everywhere you look there are identical twins, all of them wearing matching outfits. Here, two stout gray-haired men dressed as pilgrims. Over there, a pair of bearded dudes in lederhosen, hoisting trays stacked with mugs of beer. Even the baby girls in the two-seat stroller, sporting Steelers onesies, are spitting images. This double-vision spectacle is Twins Days, an annual festival that brings thousands of twins from around the globe to northeastern Ohio to celebrate their twin-ness. The festival bills itself as the largest annual gathering of twin

Vitamin B3 may prevent some miscarriages, birth defects, study says

Vitamin B3 (Niacin) -- found in meat and green vegetables -- has been shown to prevent one genetic cause of birth defects and miscarriages, according to a new study. Overall, birth defects and miscarriage are global problems, affecting up to 6% of babies and up to 20% of known pregnancies. A possible prevention, then, could help millions worldwide. "Not only have we identified a cause of miscarriage, and of birth defects where the babies affected have heart and vertebral and kidney defects among others, but we've also discovered a prevention in the form of niacin, also known as vitamin B3," said Sally Dunwoodie, lead author of the study and a researcher at Sydney's Victor Chang Cardiac Resea

Single Chinese women want to freeze their eggs and enjoy life

The rise of "singledom" is a worldwide trend and China is no exception. China replaced its one-child policy with a universal two-child policy in 2015, but it is also witnessing the rise of a female workforce that wants to focus on their careers and postpone starting a family. An increasing number of Chinese women see egg freezing as a solution that could allow them to have it all. But the Chinese government forbids unmarried women from freezing their eggs, and there are still significant restrictions on fertility treatments. "I am not sure whether I want to have children. But I can afford the time and expense of egg freezing, so I want to give myself a choice in the future," said a 40-year-o

IVF babies tend to be lighter than others but end up heavier

Since the first “test tube” baby arrived 39 years ago, an estimated 6.5 million children have been born thanks to IVF and similar techniques. But we are only just starting to learn about the long-term health of people conceived using assisted reproduction techniques (ART), who may have a higher risk of obesity in later life. “Today, 1 in every 30 babies in Japan is conceived by ART,” says Tomoya Hasegawa of Tokyo Medical University. IVF babies are usually healthy, but tend to have a lower birth weight. Large studies that didn’t look at conception method have previously found that low birth weight is linked to adult obesity and diabetes. To investigate further, Heleen Zandstra of Maastricht M

First embryo gene-repair holds promise for inherited disease

Altering human heredity? In a first, researchers safely repaired a disease-causing gene in human embryos, targeting a heart defect best known for killing young athletes — a big step toward one day preventing a list of inherited diseases. In a surprising discovery, a research team led by Oregon Health and & Science University reported recently that embryos can help fix themselves if scientists jump-start the process early enough. It's laboratory research only, nowhere near ready to be tried in a pregnancy. But it suggests that scientists might alter DNA in a way that protects not just one baby from a disease that runs in the family, but his or her offspring as well. And that raises ethical qu

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