Mainstreaming CRISPR, Baby Brain Food (Abstract Science: Jan. 22 – 26)
Updates on the NIH’s research grants for gene editing, how food can influence brain development and are more fashionable hospital gowns coming to an office near you?
(Time, 1/23/18, Alice Park)
So much is going on in the first few months of a baby’s life, it’s no surprise that what a baby eats can influence how important structures and connections in the brain develop. To help parents understand what babies need, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) issued recommendations for foods that ensure healthy brain development in a babies’ first 1,000 days. The AAP’s Committee on Nutrition say that certain nutrients, including protein, zinc, iron, folate, certain vitamins and polyunsaturated fatty acids are critical for healthy brain development. Diets lacking these nutrients can lead to lifelong issues in brain function.
(Gizmodo, 1/24/18, Kristen V. Brown)
The US National Institutes of Health (NIH) will launch an effort aimed at removing barriers that slow the adoption of genome editing for treating patients. The U.S. government is hoping that therapies for cancer and other diseases using gene editing will reach a lot more patients. To get there, it announced it will dole out $190 million in research grants over the next six years to help move things along. Gene editing techniques like CRISPR/Cas9 have radically altered the field of biomedical research, presenting scientists with the possibility of treating disease by simply editing it out of a person’s body. There are still big hurdles, though, in moving the technology from research labs to the clinic. The NIH’s new Somatic Cell Genome Editing will award funds over six years to researchers working to solve problems that will help accelerate research across the field, like developing better delivery mechanisms or better methods for gene editing.
(STAT, 1/25/2018, Bob Tedeschi)
We’ve all been there. Embarrassing hospital gowns. Yikes! Fashion designers are now working with doctors and nurses to create fashion-forward options. The higher cost of new gowns is a big reason why many hospitals still use traditional tie-in-the-back johnnies. In addition, some fans of the old design think the new versions aren’t patient-friendly enough, and the standard ones are just fine; they’re convenient and functional, giving easy access to parts of the body clinicians need to poke and prod.
—Compiled by Social Media Specialist Jillian Scola