Medical News Today

June 17, 2012 0 Comments

By Robert Truog

Will New York lawmakers be high on the idea of medical weed?

Medical weed is legal in 16 states and the District of Columbia, but the idea faces some powerful resistance in New York. Lawmakers there may nevertheless take up the issue soon. Senator Diane Savino, a Democrat, is the lead sponsor on a new bill. Governor Andrew Cuomo, also a Democrat, has in the past suggested that he is opposed to the idea, arguing that the dangers are greater than any benefits, but supporters believe he may be open to renewed arguments. A 2010 poll found that 71% of New York’s registered voters favor the legalization of medical weed.

Stem-cell therapy may become available in Texas–for a price

The Texas Medical Review Board has drafted a new policy for stem-cell use in the Lone Star State. The potential policy is controversial, however, drawing fire from the International Society for Stem Cell Research, among others. The policy would permit doctors in Texas to provide–for a fee–unlicensed therapy with the approval of a review panel. Critics suggest that this plan dodges the Food and Drug Administrations roll in ensuring the safety and effectiveness of such therapy, and amounts to asking people to pay to participate in clinical trials. Texas Governor Rick Perry has received stem-cell treatment for back problems.

Notre Dame researchers aren’t giving in to malaria resistance

One of the biggest challenges in the ongoing battle against malaria is increased drug resistance. Researchers at the University of Notre Dame have been grappling with the problem, and have developed a way to spot resistance as it develops. A gene chip is able to analyze patient samples to help address resistance issues. The new method will allow for an immediate response when the effectiveness of a drug seems threatened. Drugs may be reformulated or offered in new combinations that will respond to resistance in particular areas where the disease is virulent.

Avoiding oxidative stress is great–unless we’re talking about cancer cells

We hear a lot about the power of antioxidants as a weapon against everything from Alzheimer’s disease and cancer to heart disease and stroke. Healthy eaters seek out foods high in antioxidants to help their cells stay healthy. But cancer cells are another matter, and researchers from USC are intent on overcoming the natural defenses of the pernicious cells. The hope is to be able to circumvent a cell’s defense by turning off a specific protein–known as Nrf2–so that oxidative stress, such as that caused by radiation and many kinds of chemotherapy will be more effective.

The individual mandate gets chilly reception at the Supreme Court

Three days of intensive argument at the Supreme Court have left the future of “Obamacare” a bit up in the air. The “individual mandate”–which requires everyone to have health insurance or pay a penalty–was at the center of the debate regarding the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The justices had many questions about the mandate, and some court watchers have speculated that the court may strike down that particular provision. It also appears possible–or even likely–that the decision may be split 5-4 among the justices, with the more conservative of them ruling against the mandate.

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