Government Challenges Ban on Stem Cell Research Funding
Little more than a year after President Obama lifted a ban on federal funding for embryonic stem cell research, the administration is fighting to uphold its decision. The Justice Department is challenging a court ruling handed down last week by U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth that froze federal funding for embryonic stem cell research. Lamberth's temporary injunction has put dozens of medical experiments on hold—including research on fighting spinal cord injuries, Parkinson's disease, diabetes, and other diseases. The department is seeking a stay of the court's injunction and has filed a notice of plans to take the decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals, should Lamberth stick to his ruling. "We're going to do everything possible to prevent the potentially catastrophic consequences of this injunction," White House spokesman Reid Cherlin told the Associated Press. The ruling was based on a 1996 amendment that prohibits federal money from being used for scientific research that destroys human embryos. If upheld, it would suspend $54 million that's sustaining more than 20 scientific projects, all of which were set to receive their next infusion of funds this month. Blocking stem cell research could cause "irrevocable harm to the millions of extremely sick or injured people who stand to benefit," the department says in court papers.
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How to Reduce the Risks of Sports Concussions in Young Athletes
Student athletes risk concussion in many sports, and it's tempting for coaches and players to ignore the fact that concussions are traumatic brain injuries that can lead to permanent disability or death. Fortunately, attitudes are changing, thanks to publicity on the devastating brain injuries suffered by some pro football players, as well as a push by doctors to be more proactive in treating concussions.
That may be why a new report in Pediatrics found that from 1997 to 2007, the number of emergency room visits for concussions in 8- to 13-year-olds doubled, and more than doubled in 14- to 19-year-olds. Parents may be more aware that head injuries need medical attention, leading to more ER visits. Or it could be that young athletes are playing harder and getting hurt more often, writes U.S. News contributor Nancy Shute.
Young athletes are particularly susceptible to long-term brain damage because their brains are still developing. So parents have to get on their game and make sure that their children know that even a mild concussion is a serious injury that needs time to heal. New recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics say that any child who has suffered a concussion should be evaluated by a doctor and cleared before returning to play. [Read more: How to Reduce the Risks of Sports Concussions in Young Athletes.]
5 Easy Ways Parents Can Make Back-to-School Time Safe and Healthy
Parents get no shortage of back-to-school advice, but key tasks can slip by in that flood of information. While some items on the to-do list may not seem so pressing right now, they can set your child up for success or failure, U.S. News reports. Here are a few simple ways to launch your children into a healthy, happy school year.
First, get up-to-date on pertussis vaccinations. This one seems obvious, since schools require proof of immunization to start elementary school. But the current epidemic of whooping cough (also known as pertussis) in California that has killed five babies is caused by older children and adults passing the bacterium to children too young to have been immunized. There's much argument over whether the "vaccine refusal" trend, which is particularly strong in some areas of California, has contributed to the epidemic. But no one disagrees that many teenagers end up vulnerable to whooping cough because the immunity they got from shots as young children has waned. To be protected, babies need to get the DTaP (diphtheria and tetanus toxoids and acellular pertussis) vaccine starting at 2 months. Preteens need a booster shot when they are 11 or 12; it's called Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis), and is the same one adults need every 10 years. The federal Centers for Disease Control has a good explanation of the ins and outs of the different pertussis vaccines. [Read more: 5 Easy Ways Parents Can Make Back-to-School Time Safe and Healthy.]
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