Double Mastectomy: What We Know About BRCA Mutations and Breat Cancer

English: breast cancer surgery in 18. century ...

English: breast cancer surgery in 18. century Deutsch: Brustkrebschirurgie im 18. Jhd. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Dear Reader,

somehow I have the intention to publish this article, so, as it can be important for somebody here.

Curi56: Annamaria

Scooped by Dr. Stefan Gruenwald onto  Amazing Science
Angelina Jolie decided to go for a double mastectomy. She doesn’t have cancer yet, but like many women with breast cancer mutations, she had the radical surgery to lower her risk. Describing her decision as “My Medical Choice,” the 37-year-old actress revealed in an op-ed in the New York Times that she carries the BRCA1 gene mutation, which gives her an 87% risk of developing breast cancer at some point in her life. The abnormal gene also increases her risk of getting ovarian cancer, a typically aggressive disease, by 50%. To counteract those odds, Jolie wrote that she decided to have both her breasts removed. While radical, her decision to pre-empt any future cancer is a common one, and backed by studies. In 2010, Australian scientists found that women with the BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutations who chose to have preventive mastectomies did not develop breast cancer over the three-year follow-up. What’s more, since the genetic abnormalities increase the risk of ovarian cancer, women who had their ovaries and fallopian tubes removed also dramatically lowered their risk of developing ovarian or breast cancers. They were 89% less likely to develop ovarian cancer and 61% less likely to develop breast cancer over three years than their counterparts who did not have prophylactic surgery. Among the 250 study participants who underwent preventive mastectomies, none developed breast cancer during the study follow-up. Additionally, a patient’s surgical choice affected overall mortality rates, both cancer related and not: only 3 percent of surgery participants died at the time of the study follow-up versus 10 percent of those who avoided the surgery. And while the mutations are inherited – a mother with either aberration has a 50-50 chance of passing it on to her children – women who don’t get the mutation are not at increased risk of developing breast cancer, even if they belong to families with a history of the disease. Previous studies had suggested that women who did not have the mutations but had a mother or sister who did, could have up to a five times greater risk of developing different types of breast cancer, which led them to schedule frequent biopsies and even preventive mastectomies. The latest research, however, suggests that’s not necessarily the case. But the new study counters those findings, concluding that the risk of breast cancer in women from BRCA families, who do not carry the mutations themselves, are no higher than that of women in families with other types of breast cancer. The study involved more than 3,000 families with breast cancer, including nearly 300 who had the BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutations. The genetic test for the BRCA mutations isn’t done for every woman, or even for every woman who is at risk of developing breast cancer. Doctors recommend it for those who develop cancer at a young age, or have multiple family members with the disease. It’s expensive – up to $3000 – and insurers require that patients meet a threshold for needing the test before they cover its cost. Jolie is fortunate to be able to afford not just the test but the reconstructive surgery following the procedure as well. But she’s aware that not all women are even aware of the genetic screening and may not be able to afford the testing. She wrote that her goal in announcing her choice to remove her breasts prophylactically is to raise awareness of the test and the treatment options that women have if they are positive for the mutations.

ASU Professor Sees Rachel Carson´s Early Careers As A Model For Today´s Science Journalism Crisis

English: Rachel Carson, author of Silent Sprin...

English: Rachel Carson, author of Silent Spring. Official photo as FWS employee. c. 1940. (Photo credit: Wikipedia) science news space technology health videos images reference information

ASU Professor Sees Rachel Carson’s Early Careers As A Model For Today’s Science Journalism Crisis

February 18, 2013

It has been more than 50 years since Rachel Carson published her groundbreaking book Silent Spring. Regarded as a hero by some and a villain by others, Carson helped revolutionize the way the public views environmental science.

One area of Carson’s career that is often overlooked is her time as a government employee. This is where she got her true start in journalism and it is the area G. Pascal Zachary, professor of practice with the Consortium for Science, Policy and Outcomes at Arizona State University, will be discussing at the 2013 American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) annual meeting in Boston. Zachary is part of the panel, A 50 Year Legacy: Why does Rachel Carson Matter?

Zachary, who co-organized the panel along with ASU professor Jane Maienschein, gave his talk, “Back to the Future: The Rachel Carson ‘Model’ as a Response to the Crisis in Science Journalism,” today (Feb. 17).

“At a time when popular writers wanted to write about serious subjects and devote themselves to learning, there was little support for them commercially,” Zachary said on Carson and her early career. “I’m intrigued about how her career suggests a way forward for government to support serious writing and journalism about science and the environment.”

Carson served as an information officer with the U.S. Bureau of Fisheries and the Fish and Wildlife Service for nearly two decades before becoming an independent writer. During that time, she reported on news and findings from the agency.

Zachary believes Carson’s experience and work in this field is what shaped her later writings. Additionally, he saw her early government work as an opportunity. With publications such as the New York Times recently disposing of their environmental desk, Zachary thinks the format of having government employees writing about science could be the way of the future.

“I’m trying to see Rachel Carson in both a historical sense and prefiguring and anticipating a movement that will reform or revolutionize science journalism today,” Zachary said.

“When I talk about her as a model for the crisis in science journalism, what I mean is currently there is less and less quality science journalism,” he added. “As a community, we have to figure out how to draw the line and get a minimal amount of quality science journalism.”

On the Net:

Experts Tell NIH to Retire Mosst Research Chimps, But Not All


Chimpanzee (Photo credit: Dhammika Heenpella / Images of Sri Lanka)

Experts Tell NIH to Retire Most Research Chimps, But Not All


Experts Tell NIH to Retire Most Research Chimps, But Not All

  • This week a group of experts advised the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to permanently retire more than 300 federally-owned chimpanzees, but also recommended leaving 50 behind who could be made available for experiments.
The announcement coincides with the first nine of 110 retired chimps from the New Iberia Research Center arriving at Chimp Haven, a national sanctuary, this week with the rest expected to make their way there over the coming months. Last month the NIH announced it would move them all to a sanctuary, instead of sending 100 of them to the Texas Biomedical Research Institute in San Antonio.
The move to retire the 110 left more than 300 NIH-owned chimps available for invasive research while the NIH’s Council of Councils Working Group decided on how many research chimps it would keep, in addition to evaluating research projects the NIH currently funds and developing strict rules for when they should be used.
The group was established to further debate the issue of using chimps in research after the Institute of Medicine (IOM) issued a report in 2011 concluding that most research on chimps was unethical and unnecessary in biomedical and behavioral research, which was completed at the request of the NIH and in response to a congressional inquiry.
The final report issued this week advised the NIH to permanently retire all but 50 of the agency’s chimps who are currently housed in facilities in Texas and New Mexico to a sanctuary, and that the NIH should begin planning for this “immediately.”
The report proposed standards for their social and physical welfare, including requirements that they live in groups of at least seven, each have a minimum of 1,000 square feet, room to climb, access to the outdoors in all weather and opportunities to forage for food, reports to the New York Times.
The report also recommended stopping six of nine current biomedical research projects that involve immunology and infectious agents, while an additional six ended. There were also 15 less invasive projects that were approved, or conditionally approved, which will need to pass a review before receiving additional funding.
Additionally, the report advised against breeding, and set standards for future experiments, calling for the establishment of an independent committee that would approve study proposals after they pass the NIH’s scientific review and experiments that are expected to be harmful must have a “very high” benefit to humans in order to be approved, according to Daniel Geschwind, co-chair of the working group and a geneticist at the School of Medicine at the University of California Los Angeles.
While the recommendations are good news, they are not final. NIH Director Francis Collins is expected to respond to them in March, after a 60-day public commend period.
“We are very pleased with the report. Of course, we’d want to see every single chimpanzee recommended to go to sanctuary, but this is a huge step in the right direction,” Kathleen Conlee of the Humane Society of the United States told NPR. “So now it’s time to roll our sleeves up and figure out how we are going to get all these animals to sanctuary and give them the lifetime of retirement that they so deserve.”
Conlee also said the HSUS will be urging Congress to reallocate money being spent on research contracts to Chimp Haven for the care of retired chimps.
Unfortunately, these recommendations will also not apply to privately-owned chimps, whose fates remain unclear. Animal advocacy organizations are still pushing to get the Great Ape Protection and Cost Savings Act passed this year, which will help the ones left behind by phasing out testing for chimpanzees currently in U.S. labs, along with retiring all federally owned chimpanzees and ending transport and breeding programs for great apes intended for research.

Read more:

Here we stand in the middle of this new world with our primitive brain…

A female mosquito of the Culicidae family (Cul...

Image via Wikipedia

“Here we stand in the middle of this new world
with our primitive brain, attuned to the simple
cave life, with terrific forces at our disposal,
which we are clever enough to release, but whose
consequences we cannot comprehend.”
Albert Szent-Gyorgyi

Do Mosquitoes Bite?

If the answer is no, then ignore what follows.
If the answer is yes, then you’ve got something
to consider.

If you see a mosquito on your hand, do not swat it!
Consider that mosquito a flying hypodermic syringe.
By swatting, you might successfully inject all of
its potentially infected mosquito-saliva into
your body. Instead, blow it away, just at that
bug might represent birthday candles on a cake.

Next year’s infection might be something that ends
the human race. Only the mosquito-free will survive.

On Saturday, October 30, 2011, the New York Times
reported that genetically engineered mosquitoes
have been released into the Florida environment.

The new/improved mosquitoes contain a DNA-altered
gene to destroy their own young. The entire article:


Will that gene be passed on to any mammal the
mosquito randomly bites, just as genes from
genetically engineered crops have spread to
the environment to create new species of
weeds which are immune to pesticides, or
new species of bacteria resistant to antibiotics?

New York Times science reporter Andrew Pollack wrote:

“The results, and other work elsewhere, could herald
an age in which genetically modified insects will be
used to help control agricultural pests and insect-borne
diseases like dengue fever and malaria.”

Just for the record: I am a big fan of the science of
genetic engineering and one day believe that it will help
mankind. For example: Every cornstalk produces one ear of
corn, yet, has the genetic potential to produce six
ears. Of course, that new corn would have to be tested
on well-compensated human volunteers, not laboratory rats.

Yes, I am a fan, but not until pharmaceutical companies
and genetic engineering firms like Monsanto, DuPont and
Dow Chemical (to name a few) get it right.

There were so many errors made during the approval
process for Monsanto’s genetically engineered bovine
growth hormone, that I neither believe nor trust
manufacturers or regulatory agency bureaucrats.

One error (which I have previously written a great
deal about) involves creating a genetically
engineered bovine growth hormone which the FDA
called equivalent to the natural hormone. I found
a publication in an obscure journal written by
Monsanto scientist Bernard Violand admitting that
Monsanto created a “freak amino acid” during the
transcription process. Monsanto withheld that
information from federal regulators. Each time
lysine occurred, it was incorrectly transcribed
as “epsilon-N-acetyllysine”.

Who could have imagined the consequences? Not the
women who contracted ductile breast cancers which
cannot be felt during self-exams. I predicted an
explosion of that form of breast cancer a dozen
years ago, and sadly, my prediction has come true.

For seventeen years, I have been warning about those
errors and providing evidence of massive crimes
against mankind.

Please remember: Nature always finds a way to combat
men’s attempts to play God.

“In nature there are neither rewards nor
punishments; there are consequences.”
Robert Green Ingersoll

Robert Cohen