This mouse was grown from its mother’s skin cells

For the first time, researchers have grown eggs entirely in a lab dish.

Skin-producing cells called fibroblasts from the tip of an adult mouse’s tail have been reprogrammed to make eggs, Japanese researchers report online October 17 in Nature. Those eggs were fertilized and grew into six healthy mice. The accomplishment could make it possible to study the formation of gametes — eggs and sperm — a mysterious process that takes place inside fetuses. If the feat can be repeated with human cells, it could make eggs easily available for research and may eventually lead to infertility treatments.

mouse skin cells

“This is very solid work, and an important step in the field,” says developmental biologist Diana Laird of the University of California, San Francisco, who was not involved in the study. But, she cautions, “I wouldn’t want patients who have infertility to think this can be done in humans next year,” or even in the near future.

Stem cells reprogrammed from adult body cells have been coaxed into becoming a wide variety of cells. But producing eggs, the primordial cells of life, is far trickier. Egg cells are the ultimate in flexibility, able to create all the bits and parts of an organism from raw genetic instructions. They are far more flexible, or potent, than even the embryonic-like stem cells from which the researchers created them.

Making eggs in a dish is such a difficult task that it required a little help from ovary cells that support egg growth, stem cell researcher Katsuhiko Hayashi of Kyushu University in Fukuoka, Japan, and colleagues found. The team had previously reprogrammed stem cells to produce primordial germ cells, the cells that give rise to eggs. But they had to put those cells into mice to finish developing into eggs in the ovary (SN: 11/3/12, p. 14).

It’s unclear how support cells in ovaries foster egg development, Hayashi says. Something made by support cells or physical contact with them, or both, may be necessary for the egg to fully mature. Researchers can’t yet reproduce the supporting cells in the lab and so need to get those cells from embryos, Hayashi says. That could be a problem when trying to replicate the experiments in humans.

Hayashi and colleagues made artificial ovaries to incubate the lab-grown eggs by extracting ovarian support cells from albino mouse embryos. The researchers then mixed in primordial germ cell‒like cells created from tail-tip skin cells from a normally pigmented mouse. After 11 days in the lab dish, the eggs were mature and ready for fertilization. That’s about the same time it takes for eggs to mature in a mouse ovary, Laird says. That means researchers may need patience to make human eggs in lab dishes. “It could be a nine- to 12-month differentiation process in humans,” she says.

Researchers fertilized the eggs and transplanted the embryos into the uteruses of female mice. In that experiment, six pups with dark eyes were born, indicating that they came from the tail-tip eggs and not eggs accidently extracted from the albino mice along with the support cells. The baby mice grew up apparently healthy and have produced offspring of their own.

Growing quality eggs in the lab may be an all-or-nothing exercise. In another experiment using eggs made from embryonic stem cells, the researchers found that some genes weren’t turned on or off as in normal eggs. And only 11 of 316 embryos made from those lab-grown eggs grew into mouse pups. Some of the embryos didn’t make it because they had abnormal numbers of chromosomes, indicating that the eggs weren’t divvying up their DNA properly.

The low success rate implies that only one in every 20 lab-grown eggs, or oocytes, is viable, Hayashi says. “This means that it is too preliminary to use artificial oocytes for clinical purposes. We cannot exclude a risk of having a baby with a serious disease. We still need to do basic research to refine the culture conditions.”

Choosing A Treatment For Kidney Failure.

What happens when your kidneys fail?

Healthy kidneys do many important jobs. They keep your whole body in balance. They remove waste products and extra water from your body, help make red blood cells, and help control blood pressure. When you have kidney failure, it means your kidneys are damaged. They cannot do these important jobs well enough. Having kidney failure means that:

  • 85-90% of your kidney function is gone
  • Your kidneys don’t work well enough to keep you alive

When is treatment needed?

Your doctor will help you decide when you need to start treatment. The decision is based on:

  • Your symptoms
  • Other health problems you have
  • How much kidney function you have left
  • Your nutritional health

When it comes time to choose a treatment for kidney failure, the decision may often be stressful. Learning as much as you can about your options and talking with your healthcare team to choose a treatment plan that’s right for you will help you and your family feel better prepared to make this difficult decision. Each option has different advantages and disadvantages so it is important to learn as much as possible. What might be positive for one person might be a negative for someone else.

How do I know which treatment is right for me?

There are two treatment options for kidney failure: dialysis (hemodialysis or peritoneal dialysis) and kidney transplantation.

Talk with your family so you can decide which treatment will best fit your lifestyle needs. Also you always have the choice to change to a different type of treatment in the future. As your needs and your life change over time, so may your treatment. However, there may be medical reasons why a particular treatment option is not right for you, so talk with your health care team to discuss your personal needs.

What is hemodialysis?

Hemodialysis is a treatment that removes wastes and extra fluid from your blood. It can be done at home or at a dialysis center. During hemodialysis, the blood is pumped through soft tubes to a dialysis machine where it goes through a special filter called a dialyzer (also called an artificial kidney). After your blood is filtered, it is returned to your bloodstream. For more information on hemodialysis, click here.

What is peritoneal dialysis?

In peritoneal dialysis (PD), your blood is cleaned inside your body, not outside your body. The lining of your abdomen (the peritoneum) acts as a natural filter. A cleansing solution flows into your abdomen (your belly) through a soft tube called a PD catheter. Wastes and extra fluid pass from your blood into the cleansing solution. Peritoneal dialysis is a home-based treatment and can be done at home, at work, at school or even during travel. Because of this, peritoneal dialysis may allow for greater flexibility. (For more information on peritoneal dialysis, click here.

What is a kidney transplant?

A kidney transplant is an operation that places a healthy kidney from another person into your body. The kidney may come from someone who has died or from a living donor who may be a close relative, spouse or friend. It can even come from someone who wishes to donate a kidney to anyone in need of a transplant. However, a kidney transplant is a treatment, not a cure, and it is important to care for the new kidney with the same care as before receiving the transplant.

Hundreds of Pets Cleared in Keys Screenings for Screwworm

Federal and state agricultural officials screened about 75 cats and dogs on Sunday at a veterinary hospital in Marathon.

Any animal being driven north from the Keys onto the mainland also must stop for a screening at a Key Largo checkpoint. According to Florida’s Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, over 520 dogs, 20 cats, two parrots and one rabbit had been cleared at the checkpoint by Friday.

New World screwworms are maggots that feed on living, warm-blooded animals. Infected pets usually survive with treatment. However, over 60 endangered Key deer have died since the summer because of screwworm.


A month ago, we published an article about the Cannae-Drive, which was invented by Guido Fetta, and tested by NASA over an eight day testing campaign that took place in August of 2013. It’s also known as the EM drive. It showed that a small amount of thrust was achieved inside a container without the use of any fuel. The results were then presented at the 50th Joint Propulsion Conference in Cleveland, Ohio.


You can access the paper (titled “Numerical and Experimental Results for a Novel Propulsion Technology Requiring no On-Board Propellant”) that was presented at the conference here, and inventor Guido Fetta’s paper here.

2016 has been a huge year for the EM drive, primarily because it was recently announced that it’s about to be tested in space, and NASA researchers reported a successful 10-week trial of their EM drive prototype, which led to the approval of Fetta being granted permission to test his own version in space.

Now, even more recently, the latest patent application for the new kind of rocket engine that generates thrust without any kind of exhaust or propellant was just released by the U.K. Intellectual Property office by investor Roger Shawyer (source).

“The patent process is a very significant process, it’s not like an academic peer review where everyone hides behind an anonymous review, it’s all out in the open,” Shawer told Marry-Ann Russon at the International Business Times.

He went on to say that “this is a proper, professional way of establishing prior ownership done by professionals in the patent office, and in order to publish my patent application, they had to first carry out a thorough examination of the physics in order to establish that the invention does not contravene the laws of physics.” 

Tips That Will ACTUALLY Help You Wake Up and Get Out of Bed.

No matter how much (or little) sleep you get, the act of actually getting up and out of bed seems like one of the hardest parts of the day.
After that huge hurdle is cleared, there’s still the tricky matter of waking yourself up and getting going, but we’ve got some tips for doing that as well.
Take a look at these 17 tips from people who swear by them, then see if adopting one or two doesn’t get your day moving along a little faster.

Use Coffee…Duh
“It makes my apartment smell like velvety deliciousness first thing in the morning, and I get out of bed to a piping-hot fresh mug of ‘Wake up!’” — devikaj

Older mothers have healthier babies if they conceive using IVF

Babies born to older mothers are more likely to be healthy if they have been conceived through IVF rather than naturally, a major new study has found.

A survey of more than 300,000 live births revealed that women aged 40 or over were more than twice as likely to have a child with birth defects than those of the same age who had undergone a widely used method of assisted reproduction.

Scientists behind the study say the “remarkable” findings may be explained by a hormonal stimulation provided by IVF that helps reverse the decline in ovulation control experienced as women get older.

There is something quite remarkable occurring with women over the age of 40 who use assisted reproductionProf Michael Davies
 IVF in action

The team from the University of Adelaide collated data from every live birth in South Australia between 1986 and 2002, which revealed that the overall proportion of birth defects among naturally conceived babies across all age groups was 5.7 per cent, compared to 9.9 per cent for traditional IVF births.

For babies conceived using Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), a variety of IVF used in about 70 per cent of cases worldwide, just under 10 per cent had birth defects.

For women aged 40 or over, however, the relative likelihood of having a healthy baby reversed, with an 8.2 per cent chance of birth defects for those conceived naturally against just a 3.6 per cent chance for those conceived using ICSI.

Professor Michael Davies, who led the research, said: “There is something quite remarkable occurring with women over the age of 40 who use assisted reproduction.

“There is some aspect of IVF treatment in particular that could be helping older women to redress the maternal age issues we see among natural conception, where we observe a transition at around the age of 35 towards a steadily increasing risk of birth defects.

“We don’t know what that is quite yet – it could be an aspect of hormonal stimulation that helps reverse the age-related decline in control of ovulation.”

The study also revealed that the age at which women who are treated with both IVF and ICSI combined are most at risk of giving birth to an unhealthy child is 29, with a 9.4 per cent chance.

Professor Davies said his findings could have significant implications for infertility treatment if researchers can understand why older women do better on assisted reproduction.

However, Yacoub Khalaf, a consultant gynaecologist at Guys and St Thomas’s hospitals in London, pointed out that, despite the size of the overall study, the number of births in the over 40 group were “relatively small”, and said Professor Davies’ inferences could be the result of a statistical anomaly.

Cardiologists say new calcium supplement study is no reason to panic

A study recently published in the Journal of the American Heart Association is prompting headlines like “Calcium supplements might hurt your heart.”

The new research suggests in the form of supplements, but not calcium-rich foods, might have a harmful impact on the heart.

UAB Assistant Professor in the Division of Cardiology Pankaj Arora, M.D., says there is not a reason to panic.

“How I interpret the study is, with a of 400 mg to 1,400 mg, there is no association with ,” Arora said.

Arora says the new study looked at changes in CAC over the span of 10 years in nearly 5,500 adults ages 45-84. Calcium supplements were associated with a 22 percent increase in CAC.

Arora says it is important to note this is association and not causation, and this now needs to be tested in a randomized controlled clinical trial.

Researchers who worked on the study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association say this should give people pause if they are taking . Arora says more research needs to be done.

“We need to make sure there’s no gender difference, there are no ethnicity differences, and the message is the same for you and me,” he said.

According to the CDC, 43 percent of adults take calcium supplements. Arora says it is still OK to take these supplements in moderation.

“I would tell people excess of anything is bad, so do not take these supplements in excess,” Arora said. “I would say it’s OK in doses recommended by the Institute of Medicine and American Heart Association.”

UAB Assistant Professor of Nutrition Science Beth Kitchin, Ph.D., also has reservations about jumping to conclusions from this study.

“This was an observational study, which are very weak in design, particularly in nutrition research,” she said. “This kind of study cannot show cause and effect—only correlations.”

Kitchin says the correlation between and a heart event was very weak—to the point of being almost non-existent.

“The amount of calcium that did show a correlation was way over the amount that we recommend to patients,” Kitchin said.

Arora says it is better is to eat a diet that can provide the daily amount of calcium needed and to not rely on . Participants with highest calcium intake from food—more than 1,022 milligrams a day—showed no increase in relative risk of developing heart disease.

Calcium can be received not just from dairy products. Foods likes spinach, broccoli, collard greens and oranges are high in calcium, and can be used as a substitute for dairy.

Coronary heart disease kills more than 370,000 Americans each year, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. More than half of women over 60 take calcium supplements—many without physician oversight—to reduce osteoporosis risk.

7 Things People With Generalized Anxiety Disorder Wish Others Would Stop Saying

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It’s Never ‘Just a Migraine’

i can't keep calm because i have anxiety memeGeneralized anxiety disorder (GAD) is characterized by excessive, persistent and unrealistic worry, and caused by genetic factors, brain chemistry and personality. In fact, 40 million people in the United States are affected by an anxiety disorder, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America. As someone with GAD, here are 7 things I’d like to ask you to stop saying.

1. “Stop thinking about it.” Don’t you think if it was that easy I would not think about it? It maybe easy for you, but as a person with GAD I have to practice the coping strategies I’ve learned in therapy. And sometimes I can’t even do that. So telling me to not worry simply does not cut it.

Instead, try asking me to go for a walk or if there is anything you can do to help me process what is happening.

2. “Everyone feels anxious.” Yes, everyone feels anxious, and it is completely natural. Anxiety actually pushes us to get things done, but when your anxiety stops you from being able to function, guess what? That’s a problem. So please do not compare GADers (yes, I created this word) with non-GADers (this word too).

Instead, acknowledge what I’m going through. Say, “I see this is really hard for you. Would you like to talk about it?”

3. “I’m stressed too.” Not to discredit your stress, but you are certainly discrediting ours. What you do not understand is that we have a hard time controlling our thoughts, and whether you realize it or not, no matter how small it may seem to you, our anxiety tends to maximize everything.

Instead, try offering some words of encouragement.

4. “I know how you feel.” Unless you have GAD you do not know how I feel, so please stop saying that you do.

Instead, say, “I don’t understand exactly how you feel, but would you be willing to help me understand?”

5. “You need to calm down.” When people suffer from GAD, there are times when his/her anxiety is through the roof and it takes me time to calm down. It is always a three-ring circus going on in our heads. That advice is like telling someone who is sick to stop coughing. So no, we cannot calm down right now.

Instead say, “Is there anything I can do to help you?”

6. “You are doing too much.” (Translation: “You are being dramatic.”) Thank you for your words of comfort. We know our thoughts can be irrational at times, but that is how our brain works. Can you imagine 1,000 tabs on your computer are opened, and you cannot stop new tabs from opening? Well, that is how we feel. Just because our disorder is invisible does not mean it is not real.

Instead, ask me about what methods I use to ease anxiety (like breathing methods and yoga), and remind me what’s worked in the past.

7. “You worry too much.” Yes, we worry too much and we know that, but if you have not figured it out by now, we cannot control it. Telling us we worry too much does not help. We were already worrying about 50 things prior to this unnecessary statement, and now we are worrying about worrying.

Instead, say, “It’s OK to feel this way. I know your anxiety can be difficult, but I’m here for you.”