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BRCA1 and 2, and the Reduction of Risk

Women who carry BRCA1 or 2 mutations and who had mastectomies or salpingo-oophorectomies were found to have a decreased risk of developing breast or ovarian cancer, researchers report in the Journal of the American Medical Association. The researchers, led by the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine's Timothy Rebbeck followed 2,482 women with BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutations, some of whom then had mastectomies or salpingo-oophorectomies. During the three years of follow-up, none of the women who had mastectomies developed breast cancer in contrast to seven percent of the women who did not have the surgery that did. In addition, three percent of the women who did not have a salpingo-oophorectomy were diagnosed with ovarian cancer while none of the women who underwent surgery were. "The reason we recommend testing is because there's something we can do about it," says Virginia Kaklamani, a co-author of an editorial accompanying the article, to the Wall Street Journal Health Blog.

The Scan

Pig Organ Transplants Considered

The Wall Street Journal reports that the US Food and Drug Administration may soon allow clinical trials that involve transplanting pig organs into humans.

'Poo-Bank' Proposal

Harvard Medical School researchers suggest people should bank stool samples when they are young to transplant when they later develop age-related diseases.

Spurred to Develop Again

New Scientist reports that researchers may have uncovered why about 60 percent of in vitro fertilization embryos stop developing.

Science Papers Examine Breast Milk Cell Populations, Cerebral Cortex Cellular Diversity, Micronesia Population History

In Science this week: unique cell populations found within breast milk, 100 transcriptionally distinct cell populations uncovered in the cerebral cortex, and more.