'Handful of changes' make cancer

British scientists have worked out how many changes it takes to transform a healthy cell into a cancer. The team, at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, showed the answer was a tiny handful, between one and 10 mutations depending on the type of tumor. It has been one of the most hotly debated issues in cancer science for decades. The findings, published in the journal Cell, could improve treatment for patients. If you played spot the difference between a cancer and healthy tissue, you could find tens of thousands of differences - or mutations - in the DNA. Some are driving the cancer's growth, while others are just along for the ride. So which ones are important? Root cause The researchers

Study finds world obesity rates dramatically increase by tenfold in 40 years

Children are heavier than they've been in 40 years, with obesity rates up tenfold since researchers started studying the problem. A new report in The Lancet shows that there are now 124 million obese children around the globe, up from 11 million in 1975. And experts say the health risks are worse in nations that can least afford it. "Over the past four decades, obesity rates in children and adolescents have soared...in low- and middle-income countries," Majid Ezzati, the study’s lead author and a professor at Imperial College London’s School of Public Health, said. The World Health Organization (WHO) defines obesity as having a body mass index greater than or equal to 30, which would be anyt

IVF at 40. Louise Brown: My life as the world’s first ‘test tube baby’

On 10 November 1977, almost 40 years ago, the world’s first embryologist Jean Purdy observed that an embryo in a petri dish had divided into eight cells. It was implanted in Lesley Brown, and after nine years trying and failing to conceive, she became pregnant. 38 weeks later, her daughter Louise Joy Brown was born. She was the first of more than six and a half million – and counting – babies born by IVF. Only a member of royalty receives the level of attention that birth of the world’s first ‘test tube baby’, attracted. In hospital in Oldham, photographers hoping for a picture of the newborn triggered a bomb scare, meaning patients had to be temporarily evacuated. And when Louise’s father J

How fever in early pregnancy can cause birth defects

Running a high fever during early pregnancy is known to be dangerous. A first-trimester fever can increase a baby's risk of developing a congenital heart defect and certain facial deformities, such as cleft lip or cleft palate. But is it the fever or the underlying infection that causes the defect? A new study published in the journal Science Signaling reveals it's the fever itself that interferes with the development of a baby's heart and jaw during the first three to eight weeks of pregnancy. "We need to increase public awareness regarding fevers and birth defects. Women are often hesitant to take medication during pregnancy," said Dr. Eric Benner, senior author of the study, and a neonato

Americans don't live together like they used to

Americans are less likely to share a roof with a partner than they were a decade ago, according to a recent report released by the Pew Research Center. Whereas 39% of all US adults lived without a partner or spouse in 2007, that number has risen to 42% in 2017, according to data from the US Census Bureau. "People are more conscious of the potential costs" of living together, said Stephanie Coontz, director of research and public education for the Council on Contemporary Families, a nonpartisan group of experts and researchers. "A good part of it, of course, is the delay in marriage," said Coontz, who was not involved in the Pew analysis. The dropping marriage rate is large enough to tip the

Women who consume more than one sugary drink a day while undergoing IVF cut their chances of conceiv

Women who consume sugary drinks while having IVF cut their chances of conceiving, new research reveals. Drinking more than one sugary beverage a day reduces a woman's chance of having a live birth after IVF by 16 percent, a Harvard University study found. Having just one sugary drink a day lowers the chance of successful IVF by 12 percent, the research adds. Sugary drinks also reduce the number and maturity of a woman's ovarian cells, as well as lowering the amount of high-quality embryos, the study found. Previous research suggests sugar stimulates the release of stress hormones that affect the health of the reproductive system. Eggs and embryos may also fail to thrive in high blood glucose

Tests showing low egg reserves not linked to infertility

Lab tests showing that women have low reserves of eggs in their ovaries may not necessarily mean they will struggle to get pregnant, a U.S. study suggests. For the study, researchers examined results from blood and urine tests for so-called biomarkers that indicate ovarian reserve, or egg supply, in 750 women ages 30 to 44. Women with test results indicating low ovarian reserve were no less likely to conceive within six or 12 months of attempts than women whose lab tests didn’t point to a limited egg supply, researchers report in JAMA. “These blood tests do predict how well a woman will respond to fertility treatment,” said lead study author Dr. Anne Steiner of the University of North Caroli

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