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August 2, 2017

Deadly gene mutations removed from human embryos in landmark study

Groundbreaking project corrects faulty DNA linked to fatal heart condition and raises hopes for parents who risk passing on genetic diseases

Scientists have modified human embryos to remove genetic mutations that cause heart failure in otherwise healthy young people in a landmark demonstration of the controversial procedure.

It is the first time that human embryos have had their genomes edited outside China, where researchers have performed a handful of small studies to see whether the approach could prevent [...]

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April 9, 2017

Great Barrier Reef at ‘terminal stage’: scientists despair at latest bleaching data

‘Last year was bad enough, this is a disaster,’ says one expert as Australia Research Council finds fresh damage across 8,000km

• ‘Australia’s politicians have betrayed the reef and only the people can save it’

Back-to-back severe bleaching events have affected two-thirds of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, new aerial surveys have found.

The findings have caused alarm among scientists, who say the proximity of the 2016 and 2017 bleaching events is unprecedented for the reef, and [...]

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August 11, 2016

‘Brain training’ technique restores feeling and movement to paraplegics

Using VR technology, an exoskeleton and software, study claims participants have unexpectedly experienced partial recovery of movement and sensation

Eight paraplegics – some of them paralysed for more than a decade by severe spinal cord injury – have been able to move their legs and feel sensation, after help from an artificial exoskeleton, sessions using virtual reality (VR) technology and a non-invasive system that links the brain with a computer.

In effect, after just 10 months of what their Brazilian medical team call “brain training” they have been able to make a conscious decision to move and then get a response from muscles that have not been used for a decade. [...]

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January 29, 2016

Zika outbreak raises fears of rise in deaths from unsafe abortions

Campaigners urge governments in Latin America to rethink bans on abortion and make contraception widely available

Campaigners are calling on Latin American governments to rethink their policies on contraception and abortion because of the spread of Zika virus, which they fear will lead to a rise in women’s deaths from unsafe abortions as well as the predicted surge in brain-damaged babies.

Several governments in the region have advised women to postpone getting pregnant for up to two years, which reproductive health groups say is impossible in countries where birth control is not easily available and many women fall pregnant through sexual violence.

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