The Hidden Cost of a Quick Injury Fix – Outside

A few weeks ago, I had the chance to meet the two dozen or so sports medicine doctors who take care of the Netherlands Olympic team. With Tokyo 2020 looming on the horizon, theyd gathered at National Sports Centre Papendal, a sprawling, forested athletic mega-campus on the outskirts of the city ofArnhem, for two days of meetings, discussions, and debates. One of the topics was how to weigh imperfect scientific evidence when youre dealing with elite athletes, for whom even a tiny edge might be the difference between glory and obliviona topic I wrestled with in a recent in-depth articleabout the performance-boosting effects of electric brain stimulation.

At dinner after the first days discussions, I happened to be seated across from an Amsterdam-based doctor named Guus Reurink. His doctoral thesis was on hamstring injuries, including a 2014 randomized trial published in the New England Journal of Medicine that found no benefit to platelet-rich plasma injections, better known as PRP. That got my attention, because about a decade ago PRP was the hottest thing in sports medicine, touted to speedthe healing of tendons, joints, muscles, and pretty much any other body part you can think of. But you dont hear as much about it these days. What, I asked Reurink, was its current status?

It turns out to be complicated. PRP, in a nutshell, involves withdrawing some blood, spinning it in a centrifuge to separate out the platelets that are thought to play a key role in instigating healing, then reinjecting the good stuff at an injury site. As Reurinks work showed, it doesnt seem to work for hamstring injuries. Neither does it seem to work for Achilles tendons, muscle injuries more generally, bone fractures, or ACL repairs, according to a reviewlast year. On the other hand, it seems to work for tennis elbow and knee osteoarthritis, and may work for patellar tendinopathy and plantar fasciitis.

In other words, its a mess. Given that it supposedly works for some tendons but not others, and some joints but others, its easy to see why, when an injured elite athlete comes in desperately looking to get healthy as quickly as possible, you might say, Well, lets give PRP a shot. It might help, and cant hurt. Its precisely the same logic that leads some athletes to wire themselves up for electric brain stimulation.

But Reurink was more hesitant about the therapythan I expected. Some of the best evidence for injury healing, he pointed out, backs the use of progressive exercise programs. Even in situations where PRP appears to work, like knee osteoarthritis, its benefits are fairly similar to what youd expect to see from a leg strengthening program. Patients, of course, prefer the quick fix. Its much more satisfying to walk out of the doctors office with an appointment for an injection than with instructions to spend several months at home doing seemingly pointless exercises. And its much easierand more lucrativefor doctors to promise an injection than to spend an hour explaining why an injection isnt needed.

It may be a bad trade-off, though. Reurink directed me to a study published in the American Journal of Sports Medicinein 2017 that compared PRP, exercise, and the combination of both for muscle injuries in rats. There are obvious downsides to rat studies, but the advantage is that you can induce pretty much identical injuries, and then you can directly analyze the muscle tissue to determine how well it healed and why. Also, rats dont slack off of their exercise program just because they got an injection.

The study, from researchers at Vall dHebron Institut de Recerca in Spain, assigned 40 rats to one of five different groups: a single PRP injection; daily exercise training for two weeks; both PRP and exercise; an injection of saline as a placebo; or no treatment at all. The good news: both PRP and exercise accelerated recovery and improved other markers of healing compared to doing nothing at all or getting a placebo. But the most interesting finding was what happened to the group that got both exercise and PRP.

Heres the muscle strength of the injured legscompared to thehealthy onesafter two weeks of recovery, asmeasured by electrically stimulating the muscles. A value of 100 percent would mean that the injured muscle had fully recovered and was just as strong as the uninjured muscle.

(Photo: American Journal of Sports Medicine)

Again, PRP is better than nothing, and also better than the placebo injection of saline. Exercise is even better than PRP. If you get both PRP and exercise? Its not as good as exercise alone. Somehow, getting the PRP injection interferes with the benefits of active recovery.

Other data suggests that this finding isnt just a fluke. In pretty much all the outcome measures, PRP is good, exercise is better, and doing both is somewhere in the middle.In the first graph below, for example, is the average cross-sectional area (in millimeters) of newly formed individual muscle fibers in the injured muscle. Bigger is better. In the second graph, you have a measure of the amount of scar tissue in the injured muscle, expressed as a percentage of the muscles total cross-sectional area. In this case, smaller is better.

(Photo: American Journal of Sports Medicine)

(Photo: American Journal of Sports Medicine)

These findings, the researchers suggest, may help explain why studies of PRP have produced such mixed results: it depends not only on what youre comparing PRP to, but also on what else the injured subjects are doing. If theyre doing nothing, PRP looks great. But if theyre also doing a fairly standard rehabilitation protocol that includes exercise, PRP may actually interfere with its benefits.

Of course, I should emphasize again that rats injuries and human injuries may differ in some unexpected way. Perhaps these results dont apply directly to humans. But I think they illustrate a more general point that applies not just to PRP, but also to other cutting-edge therapies and technologies, including brain stimulation: nothing takes place in a vacuum. Adding one element to your routine, be it ice bathsor ketonesor all-out sprints, will interact with other parts of your regimen, and not always for the better. And even if theres no direct interaction, the time, energy, and money you choose to spend in any one area comes with opportunity costs in other areas. That doesnt mean you should never try anything new. It just means you should understand that theres always a cost.

My new book, Endure: Mind, Body, and the Curiously Elastic Limits of Human Performance, with a foreword by Malcolm Gladwell, is now available. For more, join me on Twitterand Facebook, and sign up for the Sweat Science email newsletter.

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The Hidden Cost of a Quick Injury Fix - Outside

10 ways of treating female hair loss – Medical News Today

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Female hair loss can happen for a variety of reasons, such as genetics, changing hormone levels, or as part of the natural aging process.

There are various treatment options for female hair loss, including topical medications, such as Rogaine. Other options include light therapy, hormone therapy, or in some cases, hair transplants.

Eating a nutritious diet and maintaining a healthy lifestyle can also help keep hair healthy.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approves Minoxidil to treat hair loss. Sold under the name Rogaine, as well as other generic brands, people can purchase topical Minoxidil over-the-counter (OTC). Minoxidil is safe for both males and females, and people report a high satisfaction rate after using it.

Minoxidil stimulates growth in the hairs and may increase their growth cycle. It can cause hairs to thicken and reduce the appearance of patchiness or a widening hair parting.

Minoxidil treatments are available in two concentrations: the 2% solution requires twice daily application for the best results, while the 5% solution or foam requires daily use.

While the instinct may be to choose the stronger solution, this is not necessary. Studies posted to the International Journal of Women's Dermatology and the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology found that 2% minoxidil was effective for females with androgenetic alopecia, or pattern baldness.

If a person finds success with minoxidil, they should continue using it indefinitely. When a person stops using minoxidil, the hairs that depended on the drug to grow will likely fall out within 6 months.

Side effects from minoxidil are uncommon and generally mild. Some females may experience irritation or an allergic reaction to ingredients in the product, such as alcohol or propylene glycol. Switching formulas or trying different brands may alleviate symptoms.

Some females may also experience increased hair loss at first when using minoxidil. This typically stops after the first few months of treatment as the hair gets stronger.

Additionally, misapplying minoxidil or applying it to the forehead or too much of the neck may cause hair growth in these areas. Only apply minoxidil to the scalp to avoid these side effects.

Minoxidil is available to purchase in stores and online.

Low-level light therapy may not be sufficient treatment for hair loss on its own, but it may act to amplify the effects of other hair loss treatments, such as minoxidil.

A trial posted to the Indian Journal of Dermatology, Venereology, and Leprology found that compared to control groups, adding low light therapy to regular 5% minoxidil treatment for androgenetic alopecia helped improve the recovery of the hairs and the participants' overall satisfaction with their treatment.

Researchers will need to carry out further research to help strengthen these results.

The drug ketoconazole may help treat hair loss in some cases, such as androgenetic alopecia, where inflammation of the hair follicles often contributes to hair loss.

One review posted to the International Journal of Women's Dermatology noted that topical ketoconazole might help reduce inflammation and improve the strength and look of the hair.

Ketoconazole is available as a shampoo. Nizoral is the best known brand and is available for purchase over the counter and online. Nizoral contains a low concentration of ketoconazole, but stronger concentrations will require a prescription from a doctor.

Some females may also respond to corticosteroid injections. Doctors use this treatment only when necessary, for conditions such as alopecia areata. Alopecia areata results in a person's hair falling out in random patches.

According to the National Alopecia Areata Foundation, injecting corticosteroids directly into the hairless patch may encourage new hair growth. However, this not may prevent other hair from falling out. Topical corticosteroids, which are available as creams, lotions, and other preparations, may also reduce hair loss.

Early evidence suggests that injections of platelet-rich plasma may also help reduce hair loss. A plasma-rich injection involves a doctor drawing the person's blood, separating the platelet-rich plasma from the blood, and injecting it back into the scalp at the affected areas. This helps speed up tissue repair.

A recent review posted to Aesthetic Plastic Surgery noted that most studies suggest that this therapy reduces hair loss, increases hair density, and increases the diameter of each hair.

However, because most studies up until now have been very small, the review calls for more research using platelet-rich plasma for androgenic alopecia.

If hormone imbalances due to menopause, for example, cause hair loss, doctors may recommend some form of hormone therapy to correct them.

Some possible treatments include birth control pills and hormone replacement therapy for either estrogen or progesterone.

Other possibilities include antiandrogen medications, such as spironolactone. Androgens are hormones that can speed up hair loss in some women, particularly those with polycystic ovary syndrome, who typically produce more androgens.

Antiandrogens can stop the production of androgens and prevent hair loss. These medications may cause side effects, so always talk to the doctor about what to expect and whether antiandrogens are suitable.

In some cases where the person does not respond well to treatments, doctors may recommend hair transplantation. This involves taking small pieces of the scalp and adding them to the areas of baldness to increase the hair in the area naturally. Hair transplant therapy can be more costly than other treatments and is not suitable for everybody.

Some minor hair loss may happen due to clogged pores on the scalp. Using medicated shampoos designed to clear the pores from dead skin cells may help promote healthy hair. This may help clear minor signs of hair loss.

Massaging the scalp may increase circulation in the area and help clean away dandruff. This helps keep the scalp and hair follicles healthy.

The most common cause of hair loss in females is androgenetic alopecia, which has strong links to genetics and can run in families.

According to the International Journal of Women's Dermatology, hair loss from androgenetic alopecia may start at a young age. Some females may begin losing their hair in their late teens or early twenties, though most females may not begin to lose their hair until their 40s or older.

Both males and females can develop androgenetic alopecia, but they experience it in different ways. Males tend to experience a receding hairline or bald spot on top of their head, while females tend to present different symptoms.

In females, the parting at the center of the hair often becomes more defined or wider. Females may also experience thinning hairs, and hair may appear more thin or patchy overall.

These symptoms are due to a thinning of each hair strand. The hairs also have a shorter life cycle, and hairs only stay on the head for a shorter period.

Female pattern hair loss is a progressive condition. Females may only notice a slightly wider parting in their hair at first, but as symptoms progress, this can become more noticeable.

Other forms of alopecia, such as alopecia areata, may cause one or more patches of complete baldness.

Other factors may play a role in hair loss, such as inflammatory conditions that affect the scalp and hormone imbalances. Doctors may want to investigate these possible causes if the person does not respond to typical treatments.

While losing hair at a young age may be concerning, hair loss is a reality for many people as they age. One study posted to the Indian Journal of Dermatology, Venereology, and Leprology noted that up to 75% of females would experience hair loss from androgenetic alopecia by the time they are 65 years old.

While many females look for ways to treat hair loss while they are young, at some point, most people accept hair loss as a natural part of the aging process.

Some people may choose to wear head garments or wigs as a workaround to hair loss. Others work with their aging hair by wearing a shorter haircut that may make thin hair less apparent.

Hair loss can affect both males and females. Hair loss in females may have a range of causes, though the most common is androgenetic alopecia.

There are a variety of treatments for hair loss for females, including OTC hair loss treatments, which are generally effective. Anyone experiencing hair loss should visit their doctor who can diagnose any underlying factors.

If a doctor suspects there is another underlying cause or the person does not respond well to OTC treatments, they will look into other treatment options.

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Global Joint Pain Injections Market Industry Analysis, Recent Trends, Size, Demand, Overview and Forecast 2019 to 2028 – Industry Planning

Global Joint Pain Injections Market 2019-2028 report is an in-depth study of Joint Pain Injections industry Size, Share, Trends and Analysis. It gets to the details of the competitive industry structure over the globe. The worldwide Joint Pain Injections market report study, composed of competent standardized instruments such as S.W.O.T Analysis, offers a comprehensive assessment of the worldwide Joint Pain Injections market. The study also covers the main players Allergan Plc., Pfizer Inc, Sanofi, Anika Therapeutics Inc, Ferring B.V., Bioventus LLC, Flexion Therapeutics Inc, Zimmer Biomet Holdings Inc, Seikagaku Corporation, Chugai Pharmaceutical Co Ltd who leads the worldwide Joint Pain Injections market. [Sample PDF Download Link]

Joint Pain Injections Market research report offers a full percentage estimate of the CAGR of the period in question that will guide consumers to make choices based on the graph.

The experts have calculated the size of the global Joint Pain Injections market on the basis of 2 major aspects: 1) Income and 2) Production Volume. The subtle analysis of the key chunks of the Joint Pain Injections market and their geographical diversification all the world has also been carried out. Numerous properties of global Joint Pain Injections market like upcoming aspects and growth factors related to every segment of the report have been put up thoroughly.

For Better Understanding, Download Free Sample PDF Brochure of Joint Pain Injections Market Research Report @

The Joint Pain Injections Market report addresses various regions such as North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, Middle East, and Africa and Latin America. The production value, gross margin analysis, development trend, and Joint Pain Injections market status are explained. The industrial chain study details the potential purchasers, distributors, and traders. Development and market challenges are described. The study of market maturity, the scope of investment and gross margin are studied. Production process structure, market share, manufacturing cost and Joint Pain Injections saturation analysis are covered. This will help the interested people of the industry to analyze the feasibility of development and development plans.

Joint Pain Injections MarketAnalyzed by Segments:

Segmentation by Injection type:

Corticosteroid InjectionsHyaluronic Acid InjectionsOthers (include, Platelet-rich plasma (PRP), Placental tissue matrix (PTM), etc.)Segmentation by joint type:

Knee & AnkleHip JointShoulder & ElbowFacet Joints of the SpineOthers (include, Ball and socket, etc.)Segmentation by end-user:

Hospital PharmaciesRetail PharmaciesOnline Pharmacies

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3. What is the key factor motivating the global Joint Pain Injections market?

4. What are the Joint Pain Injections market opportunities for the existing and entry-level players?

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Global Joint Pain Injections Market Industry Analysis, Recent Trends, Size, Demand, Overview and Forecast 2019 to 2028 - Industry Planning

Channel in Nerve Cell May be Key in Unlocking Parkinson Disease Therapy – Pharmacy Times

Researchers at the University of Cologne have identified Cav2.3 channels as a new mechanism for the development of Parkinson disease which may be the beginning of a new targeted therapy. The findings were published in Nature Communications.1

Parkinson disease is the second most common neurodegenerative disease in which a specific population of dopamine-producing nerve cells in the mid-brain die off selectively. The resulting lack of dopamine then leads to symptoms such as resting tremors, muscle stiffness, and problems executing voluntary movement. It affects more than 6 million people worldwide and is strongly age-dependent.2

It has previously been found that at the cellular level, disturbances in the calcium-dependent signaling pathways are integral to the development of Parkinson disease. Calcium plays a key role in many cellular signaling pathways, and its concentration is therefore regulated very precisely in the cell.2

Deregulation of the calcium balance causes disturbances of the intracellular signaling cascades, which can lead to cell death. Researchers have now shown that excessive calcium influx through specific ion channels, Cav2.3 channels of the so-called R-type, can contribute significantly to the development of Parkinson disease.1

Researchers were able to prevent the death of dopamine-producing nerve cells by genetically switching off the activity of the Cav2.3 channels. The ion channel Cav2.3 has so far not been associated with Parkinson disease. Further research on dopamine-producing neurons, which have developed from human so-called induced pluripotent stem cells, shows that signaling cascades similar to those that cause Parkinson sensitivity in the animal models are also active in human neurons.1

It had been previously hypothesized that another calcium channel, Cav1.3, plays a central role in the development of Parkinson disease. However, a recently completed clinical trial in which Cav1.3 channels were blocked did not show protection against Parkinson disease.2

This new study provides evidence as to why this clinical trial failed to show protective effects and suggests that selective Cav2.3 inhibitors should be tested as a drug to treat Parkinson disease, the authors concluded.2


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Channel in Nerve Cell May be Key in Unlocking Parkinson Disease Therapy - Pharmacy Times

First-in-kind Human 3-dimensional Models of Parkinson’s Disease and Progressive Multiple Sclerosis Launching to the International Space Station -…

LOUISVILLE, Ky.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The National Stem Cell Foundation (NSCF) announced today that research teams from Aspen Neuroscience and the New York Stem Cell Foundation (NYSCF) Research Institute will send a first-in-kind study of neurodegenerative disease to the International Space Station (ISS) on the nineteenth SpaceX Commercial Resupply Services (CRS-19) mission, scheduled to launch December 4th from the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida. This is the second space flight for the research teams. A preliminary experiment was launched to the ISS in July 2019 onboard SpaceX CRS-18 to test custom flight hardware systems and refine post-flight analytical methods in preparation for the SpaceX CRS-19 launch.

The NSCF-funded collaboration between researchers at the NYSCF Research Institute and Aspen Neuroscience will perform the first study of long-term cell cultures of patient-derived induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) neural organoids with microglia on the ISS to study Parkinsons disease and primary progressive multiple sclerosis in microgravity. The ability to observe cell interaction, cell signaling, migration, changes in gene expression and the common pathways of neuroinflammation for both diseases in microgravity provides an opportunity to view the biological processes in a way that is not possible on Earth. This innovative approach to modelling disease has the potential to provide valuable new insight into the fundamental mechanisms underlying neurodegenerative disorders that may accelerate biomarker discovery and potential new drug and cell therapy options for patients. These models also offer potential for better translational study and future personalized medicine applications.

The development of patient-specific, 3-dimensional human organoids that incorporate microglia (the inflammatory cells of the immune system implicated in the development of Parkinsons, MS and other neurodegenerative diseases) for observation and study in the unique research environment of microgravity has the potential to enable progress across the field for a wide variety of conditions that affect a significant portion of the global population. The engineering required to facilitate the transport of cells and culture on orbit is being led by space flight engineering partner Space Tango.

Dr. Paula Grisanti, CEO of NSCF said, Supporting this collaboration between world-class research teams during a time of explosive growth in our understanding of the research advances possible in space is a great privilege. We are delighted to be funding such innovative science at the frontier of new drug and cell therapy discovery.

We are thrilled to be working with such a comprehensive team of scientists and fantastic organizations and feel honored to use our technology to better understand neurodegenerative disorders affecting so many persons globally, said Dr. Andres Bratt-Leal, Vice President of Research and Development, Aspen Neuroscience.

We feel privileged to have the opportunity to help understand the behavior of neural cells in microgravity and to help model neurodegenerative disease in such a novel way. We are excited about this fantastic project and look forward to learning the results, said Dr. Jeanne Loring, Chief Scientific Officer, Aspen Neuroscience.

We are excited to collaborate on the first study of progressive multiple sclerosis and Parkinsons patient brain cells in space. This work will provide important insights into the mechanisms behind these diseases and advance targets for future treatments," noted Susan L. Solomon, NYSCF Chief Executive Officer.

There is significant potential to advance our understanding of MS and PD as we initiate these long-term studies of patient cells in microgravity now that we have completed our preliminary tests, said Dr. Valentina Fossati, NYSCF Senior Research Investigator. We look forward to leveraging the unique capabilities of spaceflight research to better understand the role of microglia in multiple sclerosis and Parkinsons disease, as well as how dysfunction in these cells can be targeted therapeutically.

It takes vision, passion, and courage to change the paradigms of current understanding, said Jana Stoudemire, Commercial Innovation Officer at Space Tango. We are honored to support the groundbreaking work of the National Stem Cell Foundation and these recognized leaders in stem cell biology. Their commitment and dedication to advancing the frontiers of science using new tools and new approaches has been inspiring to witness, and has the potential to provide an entirely new perspective on Parkinsons and progressive MS.

To learn more about this unique collaboration, visit

About The National Stem Cell Foundation (NSCF)

The National Stem Cell Foundation is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that funds adult stem cell and regenerative medicine research, connects children with limited resources to clinical trials for rare diseases and underwrites the National STEM Scholar Program for middle school science teachers inspiring the next generation of STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) pioneers nationwide. For more information, visit

About The New York Stem Cell Foundation (NYSCF) Research Institute

The New York Stem Cell Foundation Research Institute is an independent organization accelerating cures and better treatments for patients through stem cell research. The NYSCF global community includes over 180 researchers at leading institutions worldwide, including NYSCF Druckenmiller Fellows, NYSCF Robertson Investigators, NYSCF Robertson Stem Cell Prize Recipients, and NYSCF Research Institute scientists and engineers. The NYSCF Research Institute is an acknowledged world leader in stem cell research and in developing pioneering stem cell technologies, including the NYSCF Global Stem Cell Array and in enabling large-scale stem cell research for scientists around the globe. NYSCF focuses on translational research in a model designed to overcome the barriers that slow discovery and replace silos with collaboration. For more information, visit

About Aspen Neuroscience, Inc.

Aspen Neuroscience is a development stage, private biotechnology company that uses innovative genomic approaches combined with stem cell biology to deliver patient-specific, restorative cell therapies that modify the course of Parkinsons disease. The pipeline technology of Aspen is based upon the scientific work of world-renowned stem cell scientist, Dr. Jeanne Loring, who has developed a novel method for autologous neuron replacement. For more information and important updates, please visit

About Space Tango, Inc.

Space Tango provides improved access to microgravity through their Open Orbit platform for bioengineering and manufacturing applications that benefit life on Earth. With their first operational TangoLab facility installed on the International Space Station in 2016, and a second facility installed in 2017, Space Tango has designed and flown nearly 80 diverse payloads. As a recognized leader in the development of fully automated, remote-controlled systems for research and manufacturing in orbit, Space Tango continues to provide expertise in technology and scientific consulting for industry and academic partners. Leveraging this current work, Space Tango is developing new commercial market segments in space with the announcement of ST-42 a fully autonomous orbital platform designed specifically for scalable manufacturing in space. Space Tango envisions a future where the next important breakthroughs in both technology and healthcare will occur off the planet, creating a new global market 250 miles up in low Earth orbit. For more information, visit

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First-in-kind Human 3-dimensional Models of Parkinson's Disease and Progressive Multiple Sclerosis Launching to the International Space Station -...

Examining the ethics of embryonic stem cell research …

Last year, President Bush cast the first veto of his presidency when Congress tried to ease the restriction on federal funding of embryonic stem cell research.

Following the recent passage by both houses of Congress of the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act of 2007, which would permit federal funding of research using donated surplus embryonic stem cells from fertility clinics, the president has once again threatened a veto.

Because neither the House nor the Senate had sufficient votes to override a presidential veto, it appears unlikely this new bill will be enacted into law, further stalling the pace of this research. This bill crosses a moral line that I and others find troubling, stated Bush, following the Senates vote.

SCL: What are the main arguments for and against embryonic stem cell research? MS: Proponents argue that embryonic stem cell research holds great promise for understanding and curing diabetes, Parkinsons disease, spinal cord injury, and other debilitating conditions. Opponents argue that the research is unethical, because deriving the stem cells destroys the blastocyst, an unimplanted human embryo at the sixth to eighth day of development. As Bush declared when he vetoed last years stem cell bill, the federal government should not support the taking of innocent human life.

It is surprising that, despite the extensive public debatein Congress, during the 2004 and 2006 election campaigns, and on the Sunday morning talk showsrelatively little attention has been paid to the moral issue at the heart of the controversy: Are the opponents of stem cell research correct in their claim that the unimplanted human embryo is already a human being, morally equivalent to a person?

SCL: Considering that the moral and political controversy over embryonic stem cell research centers on this very question, why do you think there is so little attention being paid to it? MS: Perhaps this claim has gone unaddressed because stem cell proponents and many in the media consider it obviously falsea faith-based belief that no rational argument could possibly dislodge. If so, they are making a mistake. The fact that a moral belief may be rooted in religious conviction neither exempts it from challenge nor puts it beyond the realm of public debate. Ignoring the claim that the blastocyst is a person fails to respect those who oppose embryonic stem cell research on principled moral grounds. It has also led the media to miss glaring contradictions in Bushs stem cell policy, which does not actually live up to the principle it invokesthat destroying an embryo is like killing a child.

It is important to be clear about the embryo from which stem cells are extracted. It is not implanted and growing in a womans uterus. It is not a fetus. It has no recognizable human features or form. It is, rather, a blastocyst, a cluster of 180 to 200 cells, growing in a petri dish, barely visible to the naked eye.

SCL: What are the contradictions in Bushs stance? MS: Before we address that, it is important to be clear about the embryo from which stem cells are extracted. It is not implanted and growing in a womans uterus. It is not a fetus. It has no recognizable human features or form.

It is, rather, a blastocyst, a cluster of 180 to 200 cells, growing in a petri dish, barely visible to the naked eye. Such blastocysts are either cloned in the lab or created in fertility clinics. The bill recently passed by Congress would fund stem cell research only on excess blastocysts left over from infertility treatments.

The blastocyst represents such an early stage of embryonic development that the cells it contains have not yet differentiated, or taken on the properties of particular organs or tissueskidneys, muscles, spinal cord, and so on. This is why the stem cells that are extracted from the blastocyst hold the promise of developing, with proper coaxing in the lab, into any kind of cell the researcher wants to study or repair.

The moral and political controversy arises from the fact that extracting the stem cells destroys the blastocyst. It is important to grasp the full force of the claim that the embryo is morally equivalent to a person, a fully developed human being.

For those who hold this view, extracting stem cells from a blastocyst is as morally abhorrent as harvesting organs from a baby to save other peoples lives. This is the position of Senator Sam Brownback, Republican of Kansas, a leading advocate of the right-to-life position. In Brownbacks view, a human embryo . . . is a human being just like you and me; and it deserves the same respect that our laws give to us all.

If Brownback is right, then embryonic stem cell research is immoral because it amounts to killing a person to treat other peoples diseases.

SCL: What is the basis for the belief that personhood begins at conception? MS: Some base this belief on the religious conviction that the soul enters the body at the moment of conception. Others defend it without recourse to religion, by the following line of reasoning: Human beings are not things. Their lives must not be sacrificed against their will, even for the sake of good ends, like saving other peoples lives. The reason human beings must not be treated as things is that they are inviolable. At what point do humans acquire this inviolability? The answer cannot depend on the age or developmental stage of a particular human life. Infants are inviolable, and few people would countenance harvesting organs for transplantation even from a fetus.

Every human beingeach one of usbegan life as an embryo. Unless we can point to a definitive moment in the passage from conception to birth that marks the emergence of the human person, we must regard embryos as possessing the same inviolability as fully developed human beings.

SCL: By this line of reasoning, human embryos are inviolable and should not be used for research, even if that research might save many lives.MS: Yes, but this argument can be challenged on a number of grounds. First, it is undeniable that a human embryo is human life in the biological sense that it is living rather than dead, and human rather than, say, bovine.

But this biological fact does not establish that the blastocyst is a human being, or a person. Any living human cell (a skin cell, for example) is human life in the sense of being human rather than bovine and living rather than dead. But no one would consider a skin cell a person, or deem it inviolable. Showing that a blastocyst is a human being, or a person, requires further argument.

Some try to base such an argument on the fact that human beings develop from embryo to fetus to child. Every person was once an embryo, the argument goes, and there is no clear, non-arbitrary line between conception and adulthood that can tell us when personhood begins. Given the lack of such a line, we should regard the blastocyst as a person, as morally equivalent to a fully developed human being.

SCL: What is the flaw in this argument? MS: Consider an analogy: although every oak tree was once an acorn, it does not follow that acorns are oak trees, or that I should treat the loss of an acorn eaten by a squirrel in my front yard as the same kind of loss as the death of an oak tree felled by a storm. Despite their developmental continuity, acorns and oak trees differ. So do human embryos and human beings, and in the same way. Just as acorns are potential oaks, human embryos are potential human beings.

The distinction between a potential person and an actual one makes a moral difference. Sentient creatures make claims on us that nonsentient ones do not; beings capable of experience and consciousness make higher claims still. Human life develops by degrees.

SCL: Yet there are people who disagree that life develops by degrees, and believe that a blastocyst is a person and, therefore, morally equivalent to a fully developed human being. MS: Certainly some people hold this belief. But a reason to be skeptical of the notion that blastocysts are persons is to notice that many who invoke it do not embrace its full implications.

President Bush is a case in point. In 2001, he announced a policy that restricted federal funding to already existing stem cell lines, so that no taxpayer funds would encourage or support the destruction of embryos. And in 2006, he vetoed a bill that would have funded new embryonic stem cell research, saying that he did not want to support the taking of innocent human life.

The distinction between a potential person and an actual one makes a moral difference. Sentient creatures make claims on us that nonsentient ones do not; beings capable of experience and consciousness make higher claims still. Human life develops by degrees.

But it is a striking feature of the presidents position that, while restricting the funding of embryonic stem cell research, he has made no effort to ban it. To adapt a slogan from the Clinton administration, the Bush policy might be summarized as dont fund, dont ban. But this policy is at odds with the notion that embryos are human beings.

SCL: If Bushs policy were consistent with his stated beliefs, how, in your opinion, would it differ from his current dont fund, dont ban policy? MS: If harvesting stem cells from a blastocyst were truly on a par with harvesting organs from a baby, then the morally responsible policy would be to ban it, not merely deny it federal funding.

If some doctors made a practice of killing children to get organs for transplantation, no one would take the position that the infanticide should be ineligible for federal funding but allowed to continue in the private sector. In fact, if we were persuaded that embryonic stem cell research were tantamount to infanticide, we would not only ban it but treat it as a grisly form of murder and subject scientists who performed it to criminal punishment.

SCL: Couldnt it be argued, in defense of the presidents policy, that Congress would be unlikely to enact an outright ban on embryonic stem cell research? MS: Perhaps. But this does not explain why, if the president really considers embryos to be human beings, he has not at least called for such a ban, nor even called upon scientists to stop doing stem cell research that involves the destruction of embryos. In fact, Bush has cited the fact that there is no ban on embryonic stem cell research in touting the virtues of his balanced approach.

The moral oddness of the Bush dont fund, dont ban position confused even his spokesman, Tony Snow. Last year, Snow told the White House press corps that the president vetoed the stem cell bill because he considered embryonic stem cell research to be murder, something the federal government should not support. When the comment drew a flurry of critical press attention, the White House retreated. No, the president did not believe that destroying an embryo was murder. The press secretary retracted his statement, and apologized for having overstated the presidents position.

How exactly the spokesman had overstated the presidents position is unclear. If embryonic stem cell research does constitute the deliberate taking of innocent human life, it is hard to see how it differs from murder. The chastened press secretary made no attempt to parse the distinction. His errant statement that the president considered embryo destruction to be murder simply followed the moral logic of the notion that embryos are human beings. It was a gaffe only because the Bush policy does not follow that logic.

SCL: You have stated that the presidents refusal to ban privately funded embryonic stem cell research is not the only way in which his policies betray the principle that embryos are persons. How so? MS: In the course of treating infertility, American fertility clinics routinely discard thousands of human embryos. The bill that recently passed in the Senate would fund stem cell research only on these excess embryos, which are already bound for destruction. (This is also the position taken by former governor Mitt Romney, who supports stem cell research on embryos left over from fertility clinics.) Although Bush would ban the use of such embryos in federally funded research, he has not called for legislation to ban the creation and destruction of embryos by fertility clinics.

SCL: If embryos are morally equivalent to fully developed human beings, doesnt it then follow that allowing fertility clinics to discard thousands of embryos is condoning mass murder? MS: It does. If embryos are human beings, to allow fertility clinics to discard them is to countenance, in effect, the widespread creation and destruction of surplus children. Those who believe that a blastocyst is morally equivalent to a baby must believe that the 400,000 excess embryos languishing in freezers in U.S. fertility clinics are like newborns left to die by exposure on a mountainside. But those who view embryos in this way should not only be opposing embryonic stem cell research; they should also be leading a campaign to shut down what they must regard as rampant infanticide in fertility clinics.

Some principled right-to-life opponents of stem cell research meet this test of moral consistency. Bushs dont fund, dont ban policy does not. Those who fail to take seriously the belief that embryos are persons miss this point. Rather than simply complain that the presidents stem cell policy allows religion to trump science, critics should ask why the president does not pursue the full implications of the principle he invokes.

If he does not want to ban embryonic stem cell research, or prosecute stem cell scientists for murder, or ban fertility clinics from creating and discarding excess embryos, this must mean that he does not really consider human embryos as morally equivalent to fully developed human beings after all.

But if he doesnt believe that embryos are persons, then why ban federally funded embryonic stem cell research that holds promise for curing diseases and saving lives?

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Examining the ethics of embryonic stem cell research ...

Stem of the problem | Columns | Journal Gazette – Fort Wayne Journal Gazette

I have been reading a book, The Man Who Wouldn't Die, that satirizes Silicon Valley and the venture-capital start-up culture. It's reasonably funny. I was reminded, however, that sometimes culture is crazy.

At one point a character casually describes how stem-cell therapy is obviously going to make 50-year-olds feel like 20-year-olds. Grow a new liver and you're good to go, so to speak! The author clearly meant the idea as a joke. However, that idea is out there and taken seriously. Stem cells made national headlines in the late '90s and early 2000s because of some scientific breakthroughs and their promise for future medical treatments.

Just about all of our body is made up of specialized cells. These are cells that have grown to perform some specific function. Some examples are heart muscle cells, say, or red blood cells.

Stem cells are different; they have not yet specialized. That is, they have not developed many of the specific properties that are unique to the different parts of our bodies.

Given the right environment the right chemicals, for examplethey can grow into specialized cells.

There are, of course, all sorts of important details for how stem cells grow, when they specialize and how much flexibility they have in specializing. Somehow, however, there is now an industry that has skipped all that work and is marketing stem cells as a general cure. Alzheimer's disease and joint pain are frequently mentioned. If that makes you suspicious that these clinics are targeting the elderly, you would be right.

A typical treatment involves taking stem cells from a patient's bone marrow or fat and injecting it back into a sore knee or hip or whatever needs fixing. The idea, somewhat vaguely, is that the stem cells will grow to replace whatever is worn down by age.

As is true of all good scams, this one has a good story, one that can pass as proven medicine for many patients. The treatment also benefits by treating a problem with symptoms that can come and go irregularly, so a patient can honestly claim that they recovered in, say,six months.

The body is a complicated machine. It is hard to predict what will cure or not cure any specific problem. Just because a story involving stem cells sounds reasonable is not a sufficient reason to try something.

For a typical patient, we should have good, strong, positive evidence that a treatment will help. A good story is not strong, positive evidence. In the language of science, it is a hypothesis. Potentially true.

It is worth remembering that many, many things are potentially true. We don't try them all out on ourselves when we are sick.

Many of these ideas have in fact been tested in rigorous, peer-reviewed studies. So far, the evidence for positive effects is weak.

One reason these clinics have managed to skirt the rules is that extracting material from a patient then reinjecting requires less oversight for safety. Depending on the details, this treatment is considered, for Food and Drug Administration regulations, something like plasma donation (where blood is extracted, platelets removed, then reinjected into the body).

Just because a process may be safe does not make it good medicine. Medicine is not and should not be a free market. Patients will almost never have enough knowledge to reasonably choose between treatment options.

The FDA is the federal agency in charge of ensuring companies do not offer useless or harmful procedures. Unfortunately, in 2017 the FDA decided to allow stem cell clinics a three-year grace period to describe their procedures for the FDA's evaluation. As a result of that open window, hundreds of clinics have opened nationwide, offering services for which there is no strong evidence.

In the past year the FDA has realized where the industry has gone with this treatment and begun trying to crack down. Some clinics have unsafe procedures; others are misleading patients about treatments. Many clinics are still operating, unfortunately, and it can be difficult for typical patients to recognize the difference between these treatments and proven remedies. Furthermore, these bad actors could potentially make people skeptical of stem cell-based technology entirely.

That would be a shame because there is still great promise for stem cells. That may be cold comfort for those who want a treatment immediately, but that desire is the exact motivation that has led to terrible medicine for centuries.

Christer Watson, of Fort Wayne, is a professor of physics at Manchester University. Opinions expressed are his own. He wrote this column for The Journal Gazette, where his columns normally appear the first and third Tuesday of each month.

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Stem of the problem | Columns | Journal Gazette - Fort Wayne Journal Gazette

Mayo Clinic Transplant Center – Regenerative medicine …

Mayo Clinic Regenerative Medicine Consult Service

At Mayo Clinic, an integrated team, including stem cell biologists, bioengineers, doctors and scientists, work together and study regenerative medicine. The goal of the team is to treat diseases using novel therapies, such as stem cell therapy and bioengineering. Doctors in transplant medicine and transplant surgery have pioneered the study of regenerative medicine during the past five decades, and doctors continue to study new innovations in transplant medicine and surgery.

In stem cell therapy, or regenerative medicine, researchers study how stem cells may be used to replace, repair, reprogram or renew your diseased cells. Stem cells are able to grow and develop into many different types of cells in your body. Stem cell therapy may use adult cells that have been genetically reprogrammed in the laboratory (induced pluripotent stem cells), your own adult stem cells that have been reprogrammed or cells developed from an embryo (embryonic stem cells).

Researchers also study and test how reprogrammed stem cells may be turned into specialized cells that can repair or regenerate cells in your heart, blood, nerves and other parts of your body. These stem cells have the potential to treat many conditions. Stem cells also may be studied to understand how other conditions occur, to develop and test new medications, and for other research.

Researchers across Mayo Clinic, with coordination through the Center for Regenerative Medicine, are discovering, translating and applying stem cell therapy as a potential treatment for cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, degenerative joint conditions, brain and nervous system (neurological) conditions, such as Parkinson's disease, and many other conditions. For example, researchers are studying the possibility of using stem cell therapy to repair or regenerate injured heart tissue to treat many types of cardiovascular diseases, from adult acquired disorders to congenital diseases. Read about regenerative medicine research for hypoplastic left heart syndrome.

Cardiovascular diseases, neurological conditions and diabetes have been extensively studied in stem cell therapy research. They've been studied because the stem cells affected in these conditions have been the same cell types that have been generated in the laboratory from various types of stem cells. Thus, translating stem cell therapy to a potential treatment for people with these conditions may be a realistic goal for the future of transplant medicine and surgery.

Researchers conduct ongoing studies in stem cell therapy. However, research and development of stem cell therapy is unpredictable and depends on many factors, including regulatory guidelines, funding sources and recent successes in stem cell therapy. Mayo Clinic researchers aim to expand research and development of stem cell therapy in the future, while keeping the safety of patients as their primary concern.

Mayo Clinic offers stem cell transplant (bone marrow transplant) for people who've had leukemia, lymphoma or other conditions that have been treated with chemotherapy.

Mayo Clinic currently offers a specialty consult service for regenerative medicine within the Transplant Center, the first consult service established in the United States to provide guidance for patients and families regarding stem cell-based protocols. This consult service provides education and consultation for people with many conditions who have questions about the potential use of stem cell therapy. The staff provides guidance to determine whether stem cell clinical trials are appropriate for these individuals. Regenerative medicine staff may be consulted if a doctor or patient has asked about the potential use of stem cell therapies for many conditions, including degenerative or congenital diseases of the heart, liver, pancreas or lungs.

People sometimes have misconceptions about the use and applications of stem cell therapies. This consult service provides people with educational guidance and appropriate referrals to research studies and clinical trials in stem cell therapies for the heart, liver, pancreas and other organs. Also, the consult service supports ongoing regenerative medicine research activities within Mayo Clinic, from basic science to clinical protocols.

Read more about stem cells.

For more information about Mayo Clinic's regenerative medicine consultation service, please call 844-276-2003 (toll free) Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Central time.

Share your Mayo Clinic transplant experience with others using social media.

Oct. 10, 2019

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Mayo Clinic Transplant Center - Regenerative medicine ...

Quinn Waters: Weymouth, Massachusetts three-year-old is seeing the world for himself – CBS News

Weymouth, Massachusetts Aside from immediate family, no one was allowed in the house to see 3-year-old Quinn Waters of Weymouth, Massachusetts. And more importantly Quinn wasn't allowed out.

"We basically keep him in a bubble just as a precaution," said Quinn's father, Jarlath.

"Even a common cold could be something that will bring him back into the hospital," said Quinn's mother, Tara.

Parents Jarlath and Tara Waters say Quinn's natural immunity was temporarily wiped out after he got a stem cell transplant to treat his brain cancer.

Fortunately, the kid is a fighter and as we first reported a few months ago, he kept a mostly positive attitude.

But it still stunk.

He sees all of this happening and he knows he's stuck inside. And there would be days when Quinn was literally pounding to get out.

Unfortunately, staring out a window is a poor substitute for walking out a door. Quinn's connection to the outside world has been limited to whoever passes by, which hasn't been all that limiting, actually.

"It started out with family members coming to the window," said Jarlath.

Then the neighbors started showing up to entertain the police caught wind and pretty soon topnotch performers were just showing up on Quinn's front lawn.

It turned into a vaudeville stage out there.

"Yeah, the window kind of became his window on the world," Jarlath said.

It got so you never knew what might happen by. One minute it could be a dog parade the next, a team of Irish step dancers everyone brought together by word of mouth and a will to help Quinn get better.

Which his parents say did start happening.

"It's the positive energy from all these people that we believe has gotten him through his sickness, you know. You can never repay, you know (emotional), just maybe pay it forward," Jarlath said.

Being indebted never felt so fortunate.

After this story first aired in August, things got even better for Quinn light-years better. By Halloween, doctors had released him from home confinement and free to be a kid again he rushed outdoors at warp speed.

He also got to drop the puck at a Boston Bruins' game and feel the sand between his toes at the Massachusetts shore.

There is no greater curse than cancer but no greater blessing, than beating it.

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Quinn Waters: Weymouth, Massachusetts three-year-old is seeing the world for himself - CBS News

‘We didn’t worry when 2-year-old refused to use potty – then her lips went blue’ – Mirror Online

It was back in November 2015 when Lynsay Hughes and her husband Andrew, a project engineer, both 38, first noticed their two-year-old Evie was out of sorts.

Wed begun potty training and it was going really well, but Evie suddenly started refusing to go to the toilet and got very whingy, explains Lynsay, a swimming teacher.

Shed been quite a sickly baby, so initially we didnt think much of it.

When Evie went off her food, got dark circles under her eyes, and seemed to have no energy, Lynsay took her to the GP.

The little girl was then referred to North Tees Hospital, near the familys home in Stockton-on-Tees.

She spent five days there, before eventually being diagnosed with a chronic kidney infection, and discharged.

I just wanted to get her home for Christmas, says Lynsay, also mum to Oscar, now nine.

She was fine for a few days and then her health plummeted her legs, feet and fingers began to swell and her lips went blue.

Andrew took her to the park and she vomited everywhere. We knew something wasnt right.

Lynsay went back to hospital, where Evie was given an ultrasound.

A doctor came out and said, Do you want to wait for your husband? but I never dreamed it would be anything serious so I said, No, just tell me now.

He explained that while he wasnt a paediatric expert, they had found a mass around Evies tummy and wanted us to be transferred to specialists at the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle.

Andrew met us at the bigger hospital we knew it was more serious, but I still wasnt thinking about cancer.

Even when we went to meet an oncology consultant, I wasnt panicking because I honestly didnt know what the word meant.

The first time we realised it was cancer was when a doctor came in the room and said, Im going to take a biopsy of Evies tumour.

What she had a tumour? Andrew and I just looked at each other in shock.

The couple were soon ushered into a room full of different medical people consultants, nurses, anaesthetists and were told the devastating news: Evie had stage 4 neuroblastoma.

Neuroblastoma is a very rare childhood cancer that affects only about 100 children a year in the UK.

I was in complete shock, recalls Lynsay.

I said to the doctor: Are you telling me my daughter has cancer? he replied: Im not just telling you she has cancer, Im telling you she has the beast of childhood cancers. Those were his exact words.

Andrew burst into tears, but I couldnt take it in, I just held his hand feeling gutted, totally heartbroken.

It was on 22 December 2015 when that devastating diagnosis was confirmed: Evie had a 13cm tumour the most aggressive kind which was wrapped around her main artery.

The disease had also spread to her bones. Knowing staff would be short for the festive season, doctors moved quickly.

On Christmas Eve, the poorly toddler began her first, gruelling round of chemotherapy.

It was only when Evie had her line to receive her chemotherapy fitted into her little body that the enormity of the situation finally sank in, admits Lynsay.

I let out some noise that Andrew tells me was like a shriek and I fell to the floor. It was like the world had stopped.

But somehow we dragged ourselves through Christmas, trying to put on brave faces to watch Oscar open his presents.

Evie was too poorly to care about gifts.

The next year went in a blur of treatment and surgery.

Evie was put on a 10-day cycle of different chemotherapy drugs for 80 days to target the disease in her bones.

Then she had the tumour surgically removed, a stem cell harvest, high intensity chemotherapy with stem cell replacement, and radiotherapy every day for three weeks.

She was also put on a clinical trial for immunotherapy, designed to kill the bad cells while protecting the healthy ones for a further six months.

It was unbelievably traumatic. If Evie woke up in a different room to the one she went to sleep in, or if we werent there, she would scream and scream.

We explained to her that she had a nasty bug in her tummy and the doctors were giving her medicine which would make her feel funny but would make her better in the end.

We named her feeding tube Tommy and her chemo drips Wally and Dolly, to try and make things less scary for her.

She took her beloved Teddy everywhere.

When Evies blonde curls fell out in lumps, my friend who is a hairdresser came and cut it into a bob for her.

We told her she had superpowers, thats why her hair had fallen out.

Her big brother, Oscar, was so sweet when he came to the hospital, he would make friends with the other children on the ward and be so protective of her.

There were times when I was terrified she might die, but I just willed her to be better and wouldnt allow myself to think the worst.

We put on a brave face at home for Oscar, but when I was in bed I would cry and cry and my heart would be racing with the anxiety and stress.

I just had to focus on the next part of the treatment.

In between we tried to do nice things we took her to The Lion King in London as a treat, and we went camping in the Lake District.

Lynsay gave up teaching swimming to be with Evie full time, Andrew cut down his hours as a project engineer, and Lynsays sister would take care of Oscar when both parents had to be at hospital.

Finally, in March 2017, after more than two years of treatment, the family received the news they had been longing to hear: Evie was cancer-free and in remission.

To mark the momentous occasion, the hospital have a special end of treatment bell that children get to ring at the end of their chemotherapy.

It was a huge day for us.

Evie wore a new dress with rainbows on it, and our whole family came to the hospital to watch her ring the bell.

We all cried buckets.

Afterwards, we went to a restaurant in Newcastle where everyone made a fuss of her and had a big party, with Evie getting a knickerbocker glory.

Shes two and half years in remission now and living a normal, healthy life.

Shes in Year One at school, has lots of friends, and her hair has grown back. She loves dancing and drama and riding her bike.

This Christmas we will be surrounded by our family at our home and we are determined to enjoy every second.

Evie is madly into Barbies and Frozen and cant wait for Father Christmas to come. Shes definitely been good!

And we have the best present you could possibly imagine our family, together.

Neuroblastoma (neuro = nerve, blastoma = collection of tumour cells) is a tumour arising from particular nerve cells, which run up the back of the childs abdomen and chest and into the skull, following the line of the spinal cord.

The tumour occurs either in the sympathetic nervous system, or closely associated adrenal glands, and is usually, although not always, located in the abdomen.

Neuroblastoma affects around 100 children each year in the UK. It usually affects children under the age of five, and can occur before a child is born, because it develops from the cells left behind from a babys development in the womb. It is the most common solid tumour in childhood after brain tumours.

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'We didn't worry when 2-year-old refused to use potty - then her lips went blue' - Mirror Online