FROM Ellen Matloff
Angelina Jolie, Breast Cancer and Radical Surgery In 1974, First Lady Betty Ford talked openly about her mastectomy, bringing the fears of every woman out into the open. Since then, much has changed, including the discovery of the BRCA 1 and 2 genes in 1994 and 95. This week, international super-star Angelina Jolie revealed her decision to have both breasts removed — even though she did not yet have cancer – starting a new conversation about what to do if genetic testing shows a high risk for the disease. Experts say the most important lesson is that even the testing is not for everyone, let alone a double mastectomy. There’s concern that many women will demand more treatment than they need, partly because of the "pink ribbon" culture and the medical industry. We hear more about the agonizing decisions women might be faced with all on their own.
Genetic Breakthroughs: Patents and Profits Mapping the human genome began "the biological gold rush of the 21st Century," with companies now owning patents on 4000 human genes. Today, the US Supreme Court is being asked to strike down two patents on BRCA 1 and BRCA 2, genes that helped doctors discover both breast and ovarian cancer. Nobody can do that without paying Myriad Genetics , which isolated the genes. But opponents argue the genes are "products of Nature." We hear about a case with long-term implications for the future of "personalized medicine" designed to serve the needs of each individual patient.
Nuclear crisis on the Korean Peninsula slowly coming to a head North Korea did not conduct a nuclear test this weekend, but it did show apparent progress in developing a missile that that could strike the United States. The Trump Administration says it has lost its "strategic patience." We hear what that might -- or might not -- mean for North Korea, China and the prospects for diplomacy.
Mixed Messages from US diplomats on the new hard line on Syria Since President Trump's surprise retaliation against Syria's use of chemical weapons, Bashar al-Assad has used the same airport to launch conventional attacks on his own people. It's not clear what the US, its allies — or Vladimir Putin's Russia -- plan to do now.