Rob Stein http://news.stlpublicradio.org en Keep Or Kill Last Lab Stocks Of Smallpox? Time To Decide, Says WHO http://news.stlpublicradio.org/post/keep-or-kill-last-lab-stocks-smallpox-time-decide-says-who The World Health Organization is revisiting a question that's been the subject of intense debate for decades: whether to destroy the only known samples of the smallpox virus.<p>The World Health Assembly, the WHO's decision-making body, is set to <a href="http://www.who.int/mediacentre/events/2014/wha67/en/">convene </a>May 19 to vote on a <a href="http://apps.who.int/gb/ebwha/pdf_files/WHA67/A67_37-en.pdf">recommendation</a> to destroy the stocks of smallpox virus held at the U.S. Fri, 09 May 2014 21:06:00 +0000 Rob Stein 36010 at http://news.stlpublicradio.org Keep Or Kill Last Lab Stocks Of Smallpox? Time To Decide, Says WHO 'Provocative' Research Turns Skin Cells Into Sperm http://news.stlpublicradio.org/post/out-skin-cells-sperm-provocative-fertility-treatment Scientists reported Thursday they had figured out a way to make primitive human sperm out of skin cells, an advance that could someday help infertile men have children.<p>"I probably get 200 emails a year from people who are infertile, and very often the heading on the emails is: Can you help me?" says <a href="http://www.montana.edu/news/12229/internationally-recognized-stem-cell-scientist-to-lead-msu-s-research-enterprise">Renee Reijo Pera</a> of Montana State University, who led the research when she was at Stanford University.<p>In a <a href="http://www.cell.com/cell-reports/abstract/S2211 Thu, 01 May 2014 20:54:00 +0000 Rob Stein 35779 at http://news.stlpublicradio.org 'Provocative' Research Turns Skin Cells Into Sperm Genetic Sequencing May Not Be Ready To Become Routine http://news.stlpublicradio.org/post/genetic-sequencing-may-not-be-ready-become-routine Transcript <p>ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST: <p>This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Robert Siegel.<p>MELISSA BLOCK, HOST: <p>And I'm Melissa Block.<p>Getting your entire genetic code deciphered is the cutting edge of medicine. The test to spell out every letter in one's genetic blueprint can be done quickly and has become relatively inexpensive. That's raising the question: Is the technology ready for primetime? NPR's Rob Stein joins us now to talk about one of the first carefully done studies aimed at answering that question. Tue, 11 Mar 2014 20:41:00 +0000 Rob Stein 34333 at http://news.stlpublicradio.org Scientists Question Safety Of Genetically Altering Human Eggs http://news.stlpublicradio.org/post/scientists-question-safety-genetically-altering-human-eggs A panel of government advisers has expressed serious concerns about a controversial proposal to allow scientists to try to make babies using eggs that have been genetically altered to include DNA from another woman.<p>Members of the Food and Drug Administration panel said they were worried that not enough research has been done to know whether the experiments would be safe.<p>"I think there was a sense of the committee that at this particular point in time, there was probably not enough data either in animals or in vitro to conclusively move on to human trials ... Wed, 26 Feb 2014 21:48:00 +0000 Rob Stein 34022 at http://news.stlpublicradio.org Scientists Question Safety Of Genetically Altering Human Eggs Can Probiotics Help Soothe Colicky Babies? http://news.stlpublicradio.org/post/can-probiotics-help-soothe-colicky-babies When Melissa Shenewa and her husband imagined their first weeks with their new baby, they pictured hours of cuddling. Instead, they're enduring hours of inconsolable crying.<p>Their 6-week-old son, Aladdin, is a colicky baby. He cries for hours, usually in the middle of the night. They've tried everything they could think of. Nothing helps.<p>"Being a parent when your child is screaming in pain for hours on end and there's nothing you can do, you feel helpless," says Shenewa, 24, who lives in Houston. "You feel like you're not a good parent."<p>The Shenewas are far from alone. Mon, 20 Jan 2014 10:19:00 +0000 Rob Stein 33131 at http://news.stlpublicradio.org Can Probiotics Help Soothe Colicky Babies? Getting Your Microbes Analyzed Raises Big Privacy Issues http://news.stlpublicradio.org/post/getting-your-microbes-analyzed-raises-big-privacy-issues After spending months working on a series of stories about the trillions of friendly microbes that live in and on our bodies, I decided it might be interesting to explore my own microbiome.<p>So I pulled out my credit card and paid the $99 needed to sign up for the <a href="http://americangut.org/">American Gut Project</a>, one of a couple of "citizen science" or crowdsourced microbiome projects.<p>Organizers of the American Gut Project are recruiting thousands of people to donate their microbes to science — along with lots of personal information — to help researchers learn more about the tri Mon, 04 Nov 2013 08:16:00 +0000 Rob Stein 31134 at http://news.stlpublicradio.org Getting Your Microbes Analyzed Raises Big Privacy Issues Diverse Gut Microbes, A Trim Waistline And Health Go Together http://news.stlpublicradio.org/post/diverse-gut-microbes-trim-waistline-and-health-go-together Scientists have discovered new clues about how microbes in our digestive systems may affect health.<p>European researchers found that the less diverse those microbes are, the more likely people are to gain weight, become obese and develop risk factors for serious health problems.<p>Evidence has been mounting in recent years that bacteria and other organisms in our bodies do a lot more than just help us digest food.<p>"We had kind of a notion that all these bacteria that live in our body will be important for health and disease," says <a href="http://jobs.inra.fr/en/Career-opportunities/Portrai Wed, 28 Aug 2013 17:12:00 +0000 Rob Stein 29467 at http://news.stlpublicradio.org Diverse Gut Microbes, A Trim Waistline And Health Go Together Brains Of Dying Rats Yield Clues About Near-Death Experiences http://news.stlpublicradio.org/post/brains-dying-rats-yield-clues-about-near-death-experiences A burst of brain activity just after the heart stops may be the cause of so-called near-death experiences, scientists say.<p>The insight comes from research involving nine lab rats whose brains were analyzed as they were being euthanized. Mon, 12 Aug 2013 19:33:00 +0000 Rob Stein 29027 at http://news.stlpublicradio.org Brains Of Dying Rats Yield Clues About Near-Death Experiences Gut Bacteria We Pick Up As Kids Stick With Us For Decades http://news.stlpublicradio.org/post/gut-bacteria-we-pick-kids-stick-us-decades Most of the microbes in our guts appear to remain stable for years, perhaps even most of our lives, researchers reported Thursday.<p>An analysis of the bacteria in the digestive systems of 37 healthy women over a period of about five years found, for the most part, little variation over time, says molecular biologist <a href="http://gordonlab.wustl.edu/JIGCV.html">Jeffrey Gordon</a> of the Washington University School of Medicine, who led the research. Thu, 04 Jul 2013 19:03:00 +0000 Rob Stein 27963 at http://news.stlpublicradio.org Gut Bacteria We Pick Up As Kids Stick With Us For Decades Scientists Grow A Simple, Human Liver In A Petri Dish http://news.stlpublicradio.org/post/scientists-grow-simple-human-liver-petri-dish Japanese scientists have cracked open a freaky new chapter in the sci-fi-meets-stem-cells era. A group in Yokohama <a href="http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nature12271">reported</a> it has grown a primitive liver in a petri dish using a person's skin cells.<p>The organ isn't complete. It's missing a few parts. And it will be years --maybe decades — before the technique reaches clinics.<p>Still, this rudimentary liver is the first complex, functioning organ to be grown in the lab from human, skin-derived stem cells. Wed, 03 Jul 2013 20:52:00 +0000 Rob Stein 27944 at http://news.stlpublicradio.org Scientists Grow A Simple, Human Liver In A Petri Dish