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Money Down the Drain?


In New York City, the Brain Tumor Foundation has been offering free MRIs of the brain, reports The Wall Street Journal's Katherine Hobson. And as The New York Times notes, the Foundation has received almost $2 million from the New York City Council since 2005 in order to continue these screens. But is it wasted money? There is no medical evidence that shows that screening the brains of healthy, asymptomatic people does anything useful, Hobson says. And there is a "growing awareness" that more screening isn't always a good thing, she adds. While there's certainly nothing wrong with trying to find cancer early, screening can pick up anomalies that would never amount to anything and could mean patients end up being treated unnecessarily, and subjected to dangerous side effects of these treatments for no good reason. Neither the American Cancer Society nor the US Preventive Service Task Force recommend screening healthy people for brain tumors, Hobson says.

The Scan

Interfering With Invasive Mussels

The Chicago Tribune reports that researchers are studying whether RNA interference- or CRISPR-based approaches can combat invasive freshwater mussels.

Participation Analysis

A new study finds that women tend to participate less at scientific meetings but that some changes can lead to increased involvement, the Guardian reports.

Right Whales' Decline

A research study plans to use genetic analysis to gain insight into population decline among North American right whales, according to CBC.

Science Papers Tie Rare Mutations to Short Stature, Immunodeficiency; Present Single-Cell Transcriptomics Map

In Science this week: pair of mutations in one gene uncovered in brothers with short stature and immunodeficiency, and more.