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Stem cell leader opens business

Stem cell leader opens business

By Aaron Nathans
March 31, 2005

Stem cell pioneer and University of Wisconsin researcher James Thomson is opening a business at the UW Research Park.

Cellular Dynamics International, Inc. will work on cellular tissue regeneration involving the heart; the research there will involve stem cell research, but will not be limited to that, according to an industry insider familiar with the business who wished not to be identified.

Thomson has signed the papers to lease space at the research park, said park spokeswoman Beth Roloff. The business will be located in the MGE Innovation Center, according to Research Park Director Mark Bugher.

Full story.

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Brain Chip Implant Allows Paralysed Man Direct Control of Computer

Brain chip reads man's thoughts
Image of the brain
The 'chip' reads brain signals
A paralysed man in the US has become the first person to benefit from a brain chip that reads his mind.

Matthew Nagle, 25, was left paralysed from the neck down and confined to a wheelchair after a knife attack in 2001.

The pioneering surgery at New England Sinai Hospital, Massachusetts, last summer means he can now control everyday objects by thought alone.

The brain chip reads his mind and sends the thoughts to a computer to decipher.

Mind over matter

He can think his TV on and off, change channels and alter the volume thanks to the technology and software linked to devices in his home.

Full story.

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Schiavo Dies 13 Days After Tube Removed

Schiavo Dies 13 Days After Tube Removed

By MIKE SCHNEIDER
Associated Press Writer

PINELLAS PARK, Fla. (AP) -- Terri Schiavo, the severely brain-damaged woman who spent 15 years connected to a feeding tube in an epic legal and medical battle that went all the way to the White House and Congress, died Thursday, 13 days after the tube was removed. She was 41.

Full story.

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Surgeons get high-tech help at Bellin Health

Thanks to robots, operations less invasive, recoveries faster
By Mike Hoeft
mhoeft@greenbaypressgazette.com

Robots are now in Bellin Health operating rooms, but they’re not going to put doctors and technicians out of work.

The robotics-assisted surgery program at Bellin Health is aimed at providing less-invasive surgery, which translates into quicker recovery and shorter hospital stays.

Bellin Health is the first hospital in Northeastern Wisconsin, and only the second in the state, to have robotics-assisted surgery, said George Kerwin, Bellin president and chief executive officer.

“Being able to provide our patients with skilled surgeons combined with the most advanced technology truly places Bellin in the forefront of minimally invasive surgical procedures,” Kerwin said.

The other state hospital, Aurora St. Luke’s Medical Center in Milwaukee, has been performing robotics-assisted surgeries since 2002.

On Wednesday, Bellin offered news media a glimpse into its program.

The operating room was staffed by the regular urology team of three physicians and three technicians. But there were differences from the routine as a result of the robotics-assisted surgery.

The lead surgeon guided the robotic arms from a nearby console that showed a three-dimensional image from a camera inside the patient.

There was hardly any blood to be seen. As several dozen people watched from an observation room, surgeons cut five holes the diameter of a pencil into the patient’s abdomen. Blood loss in robotics-assisted surgery is about the amount in a soda bottle cap.

Through those pencil-size holes, the surgery team inserted probes. On the ends of the instruments were the robot’s eyes and hands, giving access to hard-to-reach cavities of the body.

“A surgeon still directs the operation. The robot is an added tool,” said Dr. Thomas Geocaris of Surgery Specialists of Green Bay.

Full story.

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Public morally obliged to take part in scientific research, says leading ethicist

Public morally obliged to take part in scientific research, says leading ethicist
31 Mar 2005

The public has a moral obligation to support and take part in scientific research, says a leading ethicist in the Journal of Medical Ethics.

John Harris, Professor of Bioethics at the Institute of Medicine, Law and Bioethics at the University of Manchester, does not advocate making it a legal requirement for people to get involved. But he contends that compulsion is, in principle, justifiable, and in certain circumstances, may be justified.

And he suggests that a change to the Declaration of Helsinki, which sets out the ethical grounds for research, is warranted.

Professor Harris points out that other activities in society, such as vaccination the wearing of seatbelts, and jury service, require the loss of personal autonomy for the public good. "Might medical research be another such case," he asks?

Financial incentives to participate in research are fully justified and preferable to compulsion, he argues.

Full story.

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Pfizer says judge halts sales of generic Accupril

Pfizer says judge halts sales of generic Accupril

Wed March 30, 2005 6:21 AM GMT+05:30
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Pfizer Inc. said on Tuesday a judge has halted sales of generic versions of its blood pressure medicine Accupril sold by Teva Pharmaceuticals Inc. and Ranbaxy Laboratories Ltd.

U.S. District Court of New Jersey Judge Dickinson Debevoise granted the preliminary injunction after finding that Pfizer was likely to prevail in its patent infringement lawsuit filed against Teva and Ranbaxy on Jan. 28.

The judge ordered Israel-based Teva and India's Ranbaxy to immediately stop marketing the product, known generically as quinapril, that Teva launched in December 2004 under its own label as part of an agreement with Ranbaxy, Pfizer said.

Pfizer said it will seek damages resulting from lost sales caused by competition from the cheaper generic versions of its drug. Accupril had U.S. sales of $387 million in 2004.

Pfizer said the judge also denied Ranbaxy's and Teva's request to stay the injunction, while the world's largest drugmaker seeks a permanent injunction of generic sales of the blood pressure medicine.

Full story.

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Pfizer Contests Lipitor Rule

Pfizer Contests Lipitor Rule

By Robert Steyer
TheStreet.com Staff Reporter
3/29/2005 2:18 PM EST

Pfizer (PFE:NYSE - news - research) said Tuesday that it would appeal a decision by the Austrian Patent Office that invalidated a patent on the main ingredient in its cholesterol-fighting drug Lipitor.

Pfizer says the patent challenge, filed by the Indian generic drug company Ranbaxy Laboratories, doesn't affect litigation in other countries, including the U.S. Ranbaxy also is challenging the U.S. patent which expires in 2011.

Full story.

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eBay wins preliminary patent ruling

NEW YORK — The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has given another boost to eBay Inc. in its legal fight with MercExchange Inc. by signalling that it may revoke a second patent owned by the small Virginia business.

In a filing posted on its website, the patent office said it found the latest patent to be invalid because its claimed inventions either were obvious or had been anticipated by other patents.

The decision could prove very helpful in eBay's attempt to challenge a $25-million (U.S.) patent infringement award won by MercExchange in 2003.

Full story.

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Photonics Startup Pegs Q2'06 Production Date

Photonics Startup Pegs Q2'06 Production Date
By Mark Hachman

Startup Luxtera has announced its plans to enter the CMOS photonics market, anticipating the day when microprocessors will transmit information via light, not electrons.

The company claims that its optical modulator for transforming electrons into photons runs at 10-GHz, ten times the speed of an optical modulator Intel Corp. researchers began talking about last year. Beginning in mid-2006, Luxtera hopes to enter production of photonic devices using standard CMOS manufacturing processes.

Full story.

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Modine driving the technology to power fuel-cell vehicles

Modine driving the technology to power fuel-cell vehicles
Hydrogen harnessed in stainless steel tubes could replace gasoline
By RICK BARRETT
rbarrett@journalsentinel.com
Posted: March 29, 2005

In a stainless steel tube 6 feet long and 8 inches wide, hydrogen is being made that could power automobiles running on pollution-free fuel cells, rather than internal combustion engines.

Instead of pulling up to gasoline pumps, motorists would fill their vehicles with hydrogen produced inside one of these miniature chemical plants.

Modine Manufacturing Co. of Racine is helping develop the technology - called advanced steam methane reforming - where hydrogen is extracted from natural gas through a process that uses heat, steam and catalysts.

Tuesday, Modine shipped its first advanced steam methane reformer to Houston for laboratory testing. The reformer, or one similar to it, could be installed in a demonstration hydrogen fueling station in 2006.


Full story.

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Supreme Court Hears Arguments on Internet File Sharing

Supreme Court Weighs in on File-Sharing

Mar 29, 12:21 PM (ET)

By TED BRIDIS

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Supreme Court expressed concerns Tuesday over allowing entertainment companies to sue makers of software that allows Internet users to illegally download music and movies, questioning whether the threat of such legal action might stifle Web innovation.

During a lively argument, justices wondered aloud whether such lawsuits might have discouraged past inventions like copy machines, videocassette recorders and iPod portable music players - all of which can be used to make illegal duplications of copyrighted documents, movies and songs.

Justice Stephen G. Breyer said the same software that can be used to steal copyrighted materials offered at least conceptually "some really excellent uses" that are legal.

Justice Antonin Scalia maintained that a ruling for entertainment companies could mean that if "I'm a new inventor, I'm going to get sued right away."

While seeming leery of allowing lawsuits, the court also appeared deeply troubled by efforts of the companies that manufacture so-called file-sharing software to encourage Internet piracy and profit from it.

Full story.

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S. 306: Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2005

The Congressional Budget Office has released a report estimating the cost of S. 306. The CBO estimates that the bill will reduce government revenue by about $500,000 a year because it will allow about 1000 more people to obtain health insurance, the premiums of which may be tax-deductible.


Background

S. 306 passed the Senate with bi-partisan support.

S. 306 would prohibit the use of genetic information (including results of genetic tests and
family history of disease) by employers in employment decisions and by health insurers and
health plans in making enrollment determinations and setting insurance premiums.

S. 306 would preempt some state laws that establish confidentiality standards for genetic
information, and would restrict how state and local governments use such information in
employment practices and in the provision of health care to employees.

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Yoga Lawsuit Taps Open-Source Spirit

Yoga Lawsuit Taps Open-Source Spirit
By John Pallatto, eWEEK

It's hard to imagine that yoga, the 5,000-year-old discipline of exercise, diet and meditation, would have anything in common with the modern software industry.

But a group of loosely affiliated yoga instructors based in California have embraced the philosophy of the open-source software movement in fighting a campaign by a richly successful yoga master to use copyright law to bar competitors from practicing any part of his exercise routines without authorization.

Full story.

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Heartland Group participates in Medwave stock deal

Heartland Group participates in Medwave stock deal
Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal

Medwave Inc., which makes a non-invasive blood-pressure monitoring system, has raised more than $5.2 million in a private stock deal. Among the investors are Heartland Group Inc. of Milwaukee.

Full story.

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Sony Told to Halt U.S. Sales of PlayStation

Sony Told to Halt U.S. Sales of PlayStation

By Matthew Fordahl
The Associated Press
Monday, March 28, 2005; 4:14 PM

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) -- Sony Corp. has been ordered to pay $90.7 million and halt U.S. sales of PlayStation consoles for infringing on the patents of a company that develops and licenses touch-feedback technology to enhance video game realism.

The trial judge granted a stay on the sales ban, however, pending Sony's expected appeal.

San Jose-based Immersion Corp. sued Sony in 2002, claiming it violated two of its patents. A federal jury in Oakland decided in favor of Immersion in September and ordered Sony to pay $82 million in damages. On Thursday, U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken affirmed the decision -- tacking on $8.7 million in interest.

Wilken also granted a permanent injunction that would bar the manufacture, sale or import into the United States of any PlayStations, controllers and games that infringe on the two Immersion patents. Sony has already paid Immersion $7 million in compulsory license payments ordered by the court and will continue to do so each quarter, based on sales of infringing products, until there is a reversal or settlement.

Full story.

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Nanotech Is Booming Biggest in U.S., Report Says

Nanotech Is Booming Biggest in U.S., Report Says

By Rick Weiss
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, March 28, 2005; Page A06

The science of the very small is getting big in the United States. Americans are investing more money, publishing more scientific papers and winning more patents than anyone else in the quickly growing field of nanotechnology, according to the first comprehensive federal report on the science of things only a few hundred millionths of an inch in size.

But the nation's lead may be short-lived, the report warns, as Europe and Asia show evidence of gaining.

Moreover, important questions about the technology's safety and oversight remain unanswered and under-studied, the report concludes. Research on the health effects of nanomaterials -- and necessary revisions in the way they are regulated -- are lagging, government officials said, even as the novel materials find their way into an ever-widening spectrum of products, including clothing, cosmetics and computer hard drives.

Full story.

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Pentagon Invests in Unmanned 'Trauma Pod'

Pentagon Invests in Unmanned 'Trauma Pod'

By Paul Elias
The Associated Press
Monday, March 28, 2005; 8:52 AM

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Pentagon is awarding $12 million in grants on Monday to develop an unmanned "trauma pod" designed to use robots to perform full scalpel-and-stitch surgeries on wounded soldiers in battlefield conditions.

The researchers who pitched the Defense Department on the idea have prepared a futuristic "concept video" that seems straight out of a teen fantasy game, showing with full color and sound effects the notion that robots in unmanned vehicles can operate on soldiers under enemy fire and then evacuate them.

Full story.

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UW System ranks 8th in number of U.S. patents

UW System ranks 8th in number of U.S. patents

by Sundeep Malladi
Monday, March 28, 2005

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) released a preliminary list of the top 10 universities with the most patents for inventions March 18, where the University of Wisconsin System placed eighth for most patents in 2004.

For the eleventh consecutive year, the University of California led the group of major research institutions with 424 patents in 2004. The closest competitor was the California Institute of Technology with 135 patents

Full story.

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Online file sharing to face judicial test

Online file sharing to face judicial test
By Joan Biskupic, USA TODAY

WASHINGTON — Two decades ago, the Supreme Court decided that Sony's Betamax "video tape recorder," which transformed TV watching by allowing people to record movies at home, did not violate copyright law. Tuesday, the principle of that case will be tested on a technology that makes the video tape recorder look quaint.
Online "file-sharing" services allow people to search the computers of other users and freely download music and movies. The question is whether two companies that provide the peer-to-peer software, Grokster and StreamCast Networks, can be held liable for the illegal copying of users.

MGM and other movie studios and recording companies say the software services allow millions of people to reproduce works without permission. They have sued under principles of "secondary" copyright infringement, intended to hold liable those who help others break copyright law.

The file-sharing services counter that their software has uses that do not infringe on copyrights — such as the sharing of government documents in the public domain and works by Pearl Jam, the Dave Matthews Band and other groups that have authorized free file sharing. The services say the Sony Betamax case in 1984 shields companies from liability as long as a product has a significant use that does not infringe on copyright.

Full story.

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Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Series on Cloning

See Spot - again?
By SUSANNE QUICK
squick@journalsentinel.com

Wisconsin has played a key role in the science of animal cloning, but a Madison-area business that intends to clone pets has unleashed a fierce debate.

Waunakee - It's just another brown brick building in a suburban business park.

But Suite J at the Waunakee Business Center is about to turn into the animal cloning debate's ground zero. Genetic Savings & Clone Inc. - the entrepreneurial outfit that introduced the first cloned pet cat to the world in December - is opening its doors in this small Madison suburb in April. The company's CEO, Lou Hawthorne, has promised that by year's end, a dog will be born here.

Part One

Part Two

Part Three

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Schiavo Nearing Death in Florida; Battle Over

Schiavo Nearing Death in Florida; Battle Over

By Jane Sutton

PINELLAS PARK, Fla. (Reuters) - A bitter family fight over the fate of Terri Schiavo neared its end on Sunday as the brain-damaged Florida woman edged closer to death, and her parents gave up their seven-year legal battle to keep her alive.

Protesters knelt for Easter mass services on the lawn of the hospice where Schiavo is being cared for after lawyers for Bob and Mary Schindler ended the legal fight that made the case a cause for Christian conservatives and drew in the U.S. Congress, President Bush and Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.

"I'm not saying we wouldn't be open to any idea that comes up. But at this point, it appears that time has finally run out," said David Gibbs, an attorney for the Schindlers, the St. Petersburg Times reported.

Full story.

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Schiavo tried to speak, lawyer says

Schiavo tried to speak, lawyer says
Woman down to 'last hours,' father fears
By Washington Post,
Knight Ridder News Service
Posted: March 25, 2005

Pinellas Park, Fla. - The parents of Terri Schiavo took what one of their lawyers called their "final shot" Friday, arguing that the brain-damaged woman tried to say "I want to live" minutes before her feeding tube was removed March 18.

The surprise tactic stirred emotions on yet another day of courtroom decisions, including a ruling by a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit in Atlanta, which Friday night rejected a request to resume Schiavo's feeding. Hours before the ruling, Schiavo's father, Robert Schindler, with red-rimmed eyes and a weary gaze, said his daughter "is down to her last hours. Something has to be done and it has to be done quick."

Friday night, Schindler and his wife, Mary, pleaded on television for Gov. Jeb Bush to intervene.

Full story.

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House Leaders Agree to Vote on Relaxing Stem Cell Limits

House Leaders Agree to Vote on Relaxing Stem Cell Limits

By Rick Weiss
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, March 25, 2005; Page A03

The House leadership has agreed to allow a floor vote on a bill that would loosen the restrictions on human embryonic stem cell research imposed by President Bush in 2001, according to members of Congress and others privy to the arrangement.

The vote, expected to take place within the next two to three months, would be the first of its kind on the politically charged topic since Bush declared much of the research off-limits to federal funding. The cells show promise as treatments for many diseases but have stirred intense controversy because they are retrieved from human embryos, which are destroyed in the process.

Full story.

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FEC Looking at Internet Regulations of Political Speech

FEC Weighs Limited Internet Activity Rules

By Siobhan McDonough
The Associated Press
Thursday, March 24, 2005; 5:42 PM

The Federal Election Commission took its first step Thursday in extending campaign finance controls to political activity on the Internet, asking for public input on limited regulations for the freewheeling medium.

Commissioner Ellen Weintraub, who took the lead on drafting proposals with vice chairman Michael Toner, described the steps as "restrained." The commission emphasized a hands-off approach to bloggers, or authors of Web logs, among the loudest and unruliest voices online.

Full story.

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WIPO publishes case book of domain name decisions

WIPO publishes case book of domain name decisions
By OUT-LAW.com
Published Friday 25th March 2005 12:00 GMT

The World Intellectual Property Organisation has published an overview of trends in its 7,000 domain name dispute decisions since 1999. It is, in effect, a free online case book about cybersquatting that can help parties to gauge their chances before action.

All decisions under the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) – the guidelines for deciding most .com, .net and .org domain name disputes – have been available online for the past six years. But this is the first time that WIPO has compiled comprehensive guidance on how its panellists have interpreted the UDRP.

Full story.

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Japan: Doctor found guilty of killing comatose patient

Doctor found guilty of killing comatose patient
03/26/2005

The Asahi Shimbun

YOKOHAMA-In a case that sparked debate over ending treatment for terminally ill patients, the Yokohama District Court on Friday found a doctor guilty of murdering a comatose man.

Setsuko Suda, 50, former head of Kawasaki Kyodo Hospital's respiratory department, was sentenced to three years in prison, suspended for five years.

Presiding Judge Kenji Hirose said Suda ``deviated from the last line allowed for a doctor'' when she killed the 58-year-old patient in November 1998 by removing a tracheal tube and injecting him with muscle relaxant.

``Suda retracted the tube (that helped the patient to breathe) without the family's request and, when the patient began to agonize, determined to choke him with muscle relaxant,'' the judge said.

Full story.

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U.S. court mulls overseas Web censorship

U.S. court mulls overseas Web censorship
Yahoo urges free speech shield for U.S.-based content
The Associated Press
Updated: 9:11 p.m. ET March 24, 2005
SAN FRANCISCO - Lawyers for Yahoo Inc. asked a federal appeals court Thursday for legal protection for U.S.-based Internet portals whose content is protected by the First Amendment in the United States, but illegal in foreign countries.

Some of the judges acknowledged the need for a shield for American companies in such situations, but suggested it was premature in the case of Yahoo, which is challenging a fine levied by a Paris court four years ago for allowing the site’s French users to buy and sell Nazi memorabilia, in violation of French law.

Yahoo asked the 11-judge panel of the San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Thursday to prevent the two French human rights groups that sued from collecting the fine — now at about $15 million and growing by as much as $15,000 per day.

Full story.

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Science replays the crucifixion

Science replays the crucifixion
TV show blends Bible and biomechanics

By Alan Boyle
Science editor
MSNBC
Updated: 4:35 p.m. ET March 25, 2005Biblical archaeologist Jonathan Reed says he has undergone something of a conversion. Maybe that's what staging a crucifixion does to you.

For "Quest for Truth: The Crucifixion," a TV documentary premiering on Easter Sunday on the National Geographic Channel, Reed conducted an experiment with a volunteer tied to an actual cross. Reed even took a turn on it himself.

No one was actually hurt. The researchers stopped short of pounding nails into feet, and monitored their volunteer victims closely for any signs of stress. But Reed, a religion professor at the University of La Verne in California, said spending time on the cross was nevertheless a "dark" experience that gave him a new appreciation for Roman cruelty.

It also changed his mind on some of the central historical questions surrounding the practice. Going into the experiment, Reed fully believed that crucifixion victims couldn't have been nailed by the palms of the hands, and that they had to have died of asphyxiation. But now he thinks the Romans could well have targeted the palms to maximize their victims' agony, and that death was more likely due to heart failure, brought on by shock, pain and exposure.

Full story.

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First Clinical Trial of Adult Stem Cells for Repairing Muscles Damaged by Heart Attack

JOHNS HOPKINS BEGINS HUMAN TRIALS WITH DONOR ADULT STEM CELLS TO REPAIR MUSCLE DAMAGED FROM HEART ATTACK
-- Randomized Phase I study limited to 48 patients to determine safety

Researchers at Johns Hopkins have begun what is believed to be the first clinical trial in the United States of adult mesenchymal stem cells to repair muscle damaged by heart attack, or myocardial infarct.

The so-called Phase I study is designed to test the safety of injecting adult stem cells at varying doses in patients who have recently suffered a heart attack.

Full story.

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Is It Ever Okay To Pull a Feeding Tube?

Is It Ever Okay To Pull a Feeding Tube?
"The governing ethical criteria are that it's inappropriate to intend someone's death."
An interview with Center for Bioethics and Human Dignity president John Kilner | posted 03/24/2003 03:00 p.m.


Christianity Today magazine associate editor Jeff M. Sellers spoke about Schiavo's situation with John Kilner, president of the Center for Bioethics and Human Dignity.

What are the Christian ethical guidelines for deciding whether to remove the feeding/hydration tube from Terri Schiavo?

There are two important ethical considerations—the medical situation and the patient's wishes.

Full story.

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Vatican focuses debate over the end of life

Vatican focuses debate over the end of life
By Charles M. Sennott, Globe Staff | March 25, 2005

VATICAN CITY -- As Christians today commemorate the death of Jesus on the cross, theologians here say the confluence of the legal drama surrounding Terri Schiavo and the deteriorating health of Pope John Paul II shows how the suffering of Jesus nearly 2,000 years ago can also inform the modern debate on the end of life.

The Vatican this week publicly supported a plea to the courts from Schiavo's parents to allow her feeding tube to be reinserted, and observers here described it as a highly unusual step for the hierarchy of the Catholic Church to jump into the fray of a legal case that is riveting the media.

Full story.

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Stem cells without embryos?

Stem cells without embryos?
New methods of generating pluripotent cells may placate critics, but may not work, say scientists | By Eugene Russo

Scientists are responding with a mix of encouragement and criticism to proposed sources of human pluripotent stem cells put forth at a meeting of the President's Council on Bioethics earlier this month that in principle could placate critics of embryonic stem cell research.

"Altered nuclear transfer," proposed by council member William Hurlbut, involves modifying conventional somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT) by silencing particular developmental genes in the somatic cell nucleus prior to transfer into the enucleated oocyte. For example, Hurlbut cited Cdx2, mutations in which have been shown in mice to cause death at the blastocyst stage because they fail to form a trophectoderm, which normally gives rise to the placenta. However, these embryos can still give rise to mouse embryonic stem cells.

Silencing of such genes, in principle, would allow cellular development such that embryonic stem cells could be obtained. But because the entity would have no "global, coordinated organization," it would not be considered an embryo, Hurlbut said.

Full story.

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Ethanol Blamed for Fuel Injector Problems in Milwaukee

Ethanol suspect in fouled injectors
GM quietly noting sulfuric acid residue
By RAQUEL RUTLEDGE
rrutledge@journalsentinel.com
Posted: March 24, 2005
General Motors and Citgo Petroleum are privately pointing fingers at ethanol producers as they wrap up a months-long investigation into what may have fouled fuel injectors for hundreds of motorists around Milwaukee, GM service managers said Thursday.

Ethanol producers said they were not aware they were being blamed and defended their refining process and products as meeting the "most rigid fuel standards in the United States."

GM service managers from dealerships across Milwaukee said they were told by a high-level company engineer at a managers' meeting March 17 that sulfuric acid residue from ethanol tanks was the culprit that led to more than 700 complaints of clogged fuel injectors beginning in August. Sulfuric acid is used in processing ethanol for blending in Milwaukee-area fuel as required by the federal Clean Air Act.

Full story.

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Options Running Out for Schiavo Parents

Options Running Out for Schiavo Parents

Mar 25, 8:26 AM (ET)

PINELLAS PARK, Fla. (Reuters) - Terri Schiavo completed a week without food or water Friday, sliding closer to death despite a desperate legal offensive by her parents and efforts by the U.S. Congress and Florida Gov. Jeb Bush to intervene.

While the brain-damaged Florida woman's parents suffered one legal defeat after another, including all the way up to the U.S. Supreme Court, in their fight to have her feeding tube reinserted, Schiavo herself was said to be fading fast.

Full story.

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Apple Settles With Man Who Leaked Software

Apple Settles With Man Who Leaked Software

By Rachel Konrad
The Associated Press
Wednesday, March 23, 2005; 6:30 PM

SAN FRANCISCO -- Apple Computer Inc. reached a settlement Wednesday with a North Carolina man who leaked a copy of an unreleased operating system onto the Internet.

In December, the computer maker sued Doug Steigerwald, 22, for copyright infringement and trade secret misappropriation. Apple said the North Carolina State University computer engineering graduate released a copy of "Mac OS X Tiger" on a file-swapping Web site, where people downloaded thousands of unauthorized copies.

Apple doesn't plan to ship its next-generation operating system until later this year. The company gave Steigerwald access because he was a member of Apple's "Developer Connection" group, whose members receive advanced copies of software and must abide by strict confidentiality agreements.

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Infant ‘mercy killing' looms on horizon

Infant ‘mercy killing' looms on horizon

By Kathryn Jean Lopez

"KILLING a defective infant is not morally equivalent to killing a person. Sometimes it is not wrong at all."
Peter Singer, a bioethics professor at Princeton University, penned this chillingly cold line in his book "Practical Ethics" (Cambridge University Press, 1993).

In case you're not freezing yet: Singer explains that, "Newborn human babies have no sense of their own existence over time." Hence, they're disposable.

Infant euthanasia (have you ever imagined seeing those two words together?) is the practice Singer is discussing. And don't confuse it with abortion. We're talking out-of-the-womb, mom-has-delivered, right-here-with-you-and-me babies. Where's it happening? In Europe and the Netherlands, specifically -- although word of it is slowly spreading. In Holland, the Associated Press reports that "at least five newborn mercy killings occur for every one reported."

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Indian parliament's upper house approves drug patents bill

Indian parliament's upper house approves drug patents bill

Wed Mar 23, 9:11 AM ET Health - AFP

NEW DELHI (AFP) - Indian parliament's upper house approved a controversial drug patents bill which critics warn could deprive millions of poor people of low-cost life savings drugs.

The approval paves the way for the bill, which prohibits domestic firms from copying low-cost generic versions of patented drugs, to become law.

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Ericsson sues Sendo, citing patent infringement

Ericsson sues Sendo, citing patent infringement

23/03/2005 by John Tilak

Swedish telecoms company Ericsson has sued the UK handset supplier Sendo for patent infringement in several countries.

The complaints allege that Sendo's mobile phone products infringe certain Ericsson patents covering GSM and GPRS technologies.

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Lexar wins patent suit against Toshiba

Lexar wins patent suit against Toshiba
Andrew F. Hamm
Toshiba America Electronics Components stole Lexar Media's trade secrets about its flash-memory technology, a Santa Clara County Superior Court jury in San Jose ruled Wednesday.

Fremont-based Lexar Media, Inc. (NASDAQ: LEXR) was awarded $380 million in actual damages and is in line to receive punitive damages to be decided by the jury.

"This verdict validates Lexar's core intellectual property and contributions to the flash memory industry," says Eric Whitaker, executive vice president and general counsel for Lexar. "It holds Toshiba accountable for its conduct -- building Lexar's trust to acquire our technology and then betraying that trust to partner with our competitor and compete against us."

Still to be decided is Lexar's request that Toshiba be ordered by the court to pull off the shelf any Toshiba product that contains the flash memory in question.

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Fla. Judge Won't Hear Schiavo Arguments

Fla. Judge Won't Hear Schiavo Arguments

By MITCH STACY, Associated Press Writer

CLEARWATER, Fla. - A state judge refused Thursday to hear Gov. Jeb Bush's arguments to take custody of Terri Schiavo, leaving the brain-damaged woman's parents with only the slimmest hopes in their fight to keep her alive.

Bush's request cited new allegations of neglect and challenges the diagnoses that Schiavo is in a persistent vegetative state, but Pinellas Circuit Judge George Greer wasn't convinced.

Greer's decision came hours after the U.S. Supreme Court refused to order her feeding tube reinserted. The decisions reduce chances for quick intervention to reconnect the tube, which was pulled last Friday. Doctors have said Schiavo, 41, likely would die in a week or two without nourishment.

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U.S. Supreme Court Rejects Schiavo Case

U.S. Supreme Court Rejects Schiavo Case

Mar 24, 11:03 AM (ET)

PINELLAS PARK, Fla. (Reuters) - The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday rejected a plea from the parents of a brain-damaged Florida woman to order her feeding tube reconnected, dealing a sharp blow to their seven-year legal fight to prolong their daughter's life.

The highest U.S. court denied without comment a request made late on Wednesday by Bob and Mary Schindler for an emergency order to restart nutrition for Terri Schiavo, whose feeding tube was removed six days ago.

With the parents' hopes of prolonging Schiavo's life now all but closed, a Florida court was considering a petition from a state government agency to take custody of Schiavo.

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Seeking meaning in a hint of a smile

Seeking meaning in a hint of a smile
Terri Schiavo's parents make a powerful video appeal to the public, but experts say that the images they show are misleading

By Judith Graham
Tribune staff reporter
Published March 23, 2005


Terri Schiavo's eyes look vacant. Her mouth hangs open. Then, her mother approaches, saying, "Hi, baby," in a bright voice. Schiavo's lips turn upward, and her blinking accelerates.

What do these carefully edited video clips reveal about the severely brain-damaged woman?

Nothing of any real significance, medical experts say.

Therein lies one of the most difficult to grasp facets of this controversial right-to-die case. What appears on the surface to be intelligent, intelligible behavior on Schiavo's part is anything but, most physicians say.

To the contrary, the 41-year-old woman is capable only of meaningless, spontaneous responses arising from the deepest, most primitive centers of her brain, experts suggest.

"Her facial muscles may move, but there's no feeling behind it," says Dr. Ronald Cranford, a neurologist who examined Schiavo in 2002 and reviewed all her medical records. "Everything you see is reflex."

Clearly, Schiavo's parents don't agree. Where doctors see muscles moving involuntarily, they see their daughter smiling. What experts call instinctual, animal-like reactions--Schiavo's face turning toward her mother as she speaks, her eyes seeming to scan the space around her--her parents deem signs of Schiavo feeling presence.

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Syngenta Says It Sold Wrong Biotech Corn

Syngenta Says It Sold Wrong Biotech Corn

By Michael S. Rosenwald
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, March 23, 2005; Page E01

Swiss biotech firm Syngenta AG said yesterday that over a four-year period it inadvertently sold U.S. farmers an unapproved strain of genetically modified corn seed that may have also entered the food supply and international export channels.

Syngenta, as well as three federal regulatory agencies investigating the sales, cautioned that the mistake posed no health risks because the unapproved strain is virtually identical, genetically, to an approved strain of corn seed that the company markets.

The firm said the amount of unapproved corn planted from 2001 until it discovered and reported the mistake to regulators last December was "very little," amounting to 37,000 acres out of the 320 million acres planted during that period across the United States.

Despite the small amount of corn involved, as well as the lack of public health risk, industry observers said Syngenta's problems would likely stoke long-simmering concerns over the biotech industry's ability to control the technology.

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Appeal Filed in Apple Trade Secrets Suit

Appeal Filed in Apple Trade Secrets Suit

By Rachel Konrad
The Associated Press
Tuesday, March 22, 2005; 10:08 PM

SAN FRANCISCO -- Online journalists who published secrets about Apple Computer Inc. filed an appeal Tuesday in a case that could have broad implications for the media.

A California judge ruled March 11 that three independent online reporters may have to provide the identities of their confidential sources and that they weren't protected by "shield laws" that usually protect journalists.

In December, Apple sued 25 unnamed individuals, called "Does" and believed to be Apple employees, who leaked specifications about a product code-named "Asteroid" to Monish Bhatia, Jason O'Grady and another person who writes under the pseudonym Kasper Jade. Their articles appeared in the online publications Apple Insider and PowerPage.

The Cupertino-based company said the leaks and the published documents violated nondisclosure agreements and California's Uniform Trade Secrets Act. Company attorneys demanded that the reporters identify their sources.

The reporters sought a protective order against the subpoenas, saying that identifying sources would create a "chilling effect" that could erode the media's ability to report in the public's interest.

But Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge James Kleinberg ruled in Apple's favor earlier this month, saying that reporters who published "stolen property" weren't entitled to protections.

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Recalling Iraq's Terrors Through Virtual Reality

Recalling Iraq's Terrors Through Virtual Reality
Therapy Aims to Alleviate Post-Traumatic Stress

By Ariana Eunjung Cha
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, March 23, 2005; Page A01

SAN DIEGO -- Joseph Blythe settled into the couch in the psychologist's office, slipped on a pair of high-tech goggles, took hold of the joystick and within a few seconds was transported through time and distance back to Iraq. He walked briskly along the maze-like urban streets, scanning the rooftops for friend or foe, passing by bombed-out cars, listening to the roar of choppers flying past the palm trees.

As he reached an alley, Blythe heard the whoosh of a bullet going past his head and flinched.

"That was scary," he said.

Blythe, a 25-year-old medic who spent eight months with the U.S. Marine Corps in Fallujah during its most turbulent period in 2004, is among the first to test a new virtual-reality system that the military hopes will help servicemen and women suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.

The idea behind the treatment is counterintuitive. It forces the troops to do the last thing they want to do: relive the experience.

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Lawsuit over an embryo fuels debate on when life begins

Lawsuit over an embryo fuels debate on when life begins

An Illinois judge allows a wrongful-death suit involving a 'pre-embryo' to go forward, deepening a moral divide.

By Amanda Paulson | Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor

CHICAGO – When Alison Miller and Todd Parrish filed a wrongful-death suit for the destruction of their frozen embryos by a fertility clinic, they just wanted some compensation for their disappointed hopes.
But when a Chicago judge broke precedents by letting the suit stand last month, the decision's ramifications for reproductive technology, stem-cell research, and abortion stirred debate across the nation.

Judge Jeffrey Lawrence's decision is almost certain to be overturned. But it does serve the purpose of underscoring just how sensitive the issue of "personhood" has become in the highly charged world of reproductive rights.

Central to the emotional and philosophical debate over abortion is defining when an embryo or fetus becomes a whole person. Including a frozen "pre-embryo" in that definition, some say, is only the latest development in a wider struggle over reconciling the law with scientific advances.

Jeffrey Kahn, director of the Center for Bioethics at the University of Minnesota, recognizes the recent wrongful death suit as one step in a broader debate. He believes the "personhood" strategies used by abortion opponents, as well as the rapid advances in technologies like ultrasound, are having a cumulative effect on public perception.

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Unltrafast Biocavity Laser

Novel ultrafast laser detection of cancer cells also may improve understanding of stem cells
LOS ANGELES, Calif. — To investigate tumors, pathologists currently rely on labor-intensive microscopic examination, using century-old cell-staining methods that can take days to complete and may give false readings.

A lightning-fast laser technique, led by Sandia National Laboratories researcher Paul Gourley, has provided laboratory demonstrations of accurate, real-time, high-throughput identification of liver tumor cells at their earliest stages, and without invasive chemical reagents.

The technique generates a laser beam in single human cells pumped from a flask through tiny microchannels. The beam is altered by what it encounters. These changes, registered by an imaging spectrometer, instantly identify cancer-modified mitochondria in cells gone wrong. Mitochondria are known as the power pack of cells, energizing them like batteries do flashlight bulbs.

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Judge Won't Order Schiavo Tube Reinserted

Judge Won't Order Schiavo Tube Reinserted

Mar 22, 9:17 AM (ET)

By VICKIE CHACHERE

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) - A federal judge on Tuesday refused to order the reinsertion of Terri Schiavo's feeding tube, denying an emergency request from the brain-damaged woman's parents that had been debated in Congress and backed by the White House.

U.S. District Judge James Whittemore said the 41-year-old woman's parents, Bob and Mary Schindler, had not established a "substantial likelihood of success" at trial on the merits of their arguments.

Whittemore wrote that Schiavo's "life and liberty interests" had been protected by Florida courts. Despite "these difficult and time-strained circumstances," he wrote, "this court is constrained to apply the law to the issues before it."

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Sensenbrenner led charge to take on Schiavo case

Sensenbrenner led charge to take on Schiavo case
Wisconsin lawmaker pivotal in debate over Florida woman
By KATHERINE M. SKIBA
kskiba@journalsentinel.com
Posted: March 21, 2005

Jim Sensenbrenner, pivotal in the congressional debate over Terri Schiavo - a brain-damaged woman whose feeding tube was removed Friday - was rewarded for his efforts.

Just before 1 a.m. Monday, House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) handed over to Sensenbrenner the gavel the speaker used in the historic weekend session.

The gesture came after an emotion-charged debate after which lawmakers cleared the way for Schiavo's parents to take the case to federal court, where her fate now lies.

"This shows that Congress is a compassionate institution," said the 61-year-old F. James Sensenbrenner Jr. (R-Wis.), chairman of the House Judiciary Committee.

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Light may arise from relativity violations

Light may arise from relativity violations
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Light as we know it may be a direct result of small violations of relativity, according to new research scheduled for publication online Tuesday (March 22) in the journal Physical Review D.

In discussing the work, physics professor Alan Kostelecky of Indiana University described light as "a shimmering of ever-present vectors in empty space" and compared it to waves propagating across a field of grain. This description is markedly different from existing theories of light, in which scientists believe space is without direction and the properties of light are a result of an underlying symmetry of nature.

Instead the report, co-authored by Kostelecky with physics professor Robert Bluhm of Colby College, discusses the possibility that light arises from the breaking of a symmetry of relativity. "Nature's beauty is more subtle than perfect symmetry," Kostelecky said. "The underlying origin of light may be another example of this subtlety."

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