This week, Angelina Jolie published an op-ed in the New York Time entitled "My Medical Choice," in which she explained her decision to undergo a preventive double mastectomy, having her breasts removed and replaced with implants over the course of three months of medical procedures. Jolie's mother had died of breast cancer at the age of 56, and she knew she had inherited the same risk: an 87% chance of developing breast cancer and a 50% risk of developing ovarian cancer. Her procedure reduced the risk of breast cancer to under 5%.
How did she know she was at risk? Jolie had been tested for the "faulty" gene BRCA1 and the test came back positive. By whom was she tested? The molecular diagnostic company Myriad Genetics (NASDAQ:MYGN). How do I know this? Because Myriad owns a patent for the BRCA1 gene (as well as the BRCA2 gene), and therefore, has exclusive rights to test for it (though the patents expire in about two years). Because of the patent and its protection of exclusivity, the company charges over $3,000 for the test.
Not surprisingly, Myriad's stock price saw a 4% increase yesterday. Jolie was drawing attention to breast cancer prevention and to this new and powerful tool that only one company holds the rights to. But in her op-ed, she writes, "It has got to be a priority to ensure that more woman can access gene testing and lifesaving, preventative treatment, whatever their means and background, wherever they live." If more companies are able to offer the test, then of course the price will go down, but only an invalidation of the patent law will allow other companies to offer the test. So continues the debate over whether companies should be able to patent human genes.
The following is a story I wrote in March about this debate: The Case of Myriad Genetics: Should Companies Own Patents on Human Genes?
For 30 years, companies have been patenting human genes. Yes, the very genetic material of our bodies, of our DNA, albeit in isolated forms. For longer than that, debates have been incessant -- in the scientific community, between businesses, and in the courts -- over whether or not this practice is legal, let alone ethical. Earlier this month, an Australian court heard yet another case about the legality of gene patenting, ultimately defending the practice. This spring, media attention over the controversy will shift back to the US as a similar case (originally heard in the US District Court for the Southern District of New York) will be heard by the Supreme Court.
Thanks to easy access with 1240 Shoppers Drug Mart and Pharmaprix locations that are currently across Canada, customers can find a store in every province and territory.
"Whether you need a prescription or shampoo, we have tremendous offerings - but we also have many other products and services available to all our customers," says Lana Gogas, Communications and Corporate Affairs Manager for Shoppers Drug Mart.
But there's probably a few things you didn't know about this Canadian retailer - so check out our list of 10 things to commit to memory for your next visit.
Top 10 Tips for Budget Family Travel
Do it Yourself: What You Don't Need to Pay for This Spring
Spring Cleaning: Seven Steps to Get Your Financial House in Order
Too bad most of these fads aren't worth their weight in salt -- or your hard-earned dollars. We've put together a list of some of worst so-called health trends that still persist today.
Filed under: Health
By Matt Koppenheffer
Two hours, fifty-five minutes, and forty-seven seconds after excitedly striding over the starting-line timing mat, I crossed the finish line of the 2013 Boston Marathon. It was a personal record. I turned and gave Adam a hug. I had just met Adam two hours and fifty four minutes earlier and he proceeded to coach me to my best-ever marathon time.
It had all the trappings of a truly memorable athletic event: goals achieved, heartfelt camaraderie, wildly cheering fans (even if I didn't stop to kiss any of the beckoning Wellesley girls), and, of course, all of the hoopla of one of the biggest races in the world. The weather was perfect, and the 27,000-runner race was beautifully organized. I was beaming and, after picking up my drop bag, began fielding an influx of congratulatory messages from family and friends.
Looks like there's no time like the present to work on that bikini body or maybe dust off that New Year's resolution to get healthy. Spring is a time of new beginnings, so why not get back on that horse and ride?
One reason might be the cost. Gym memberships can run you $40 to $50 a month or more and when you add the initiation fees, you're looking at at least $800 a year. In fact, Stephen Dubner and Steve Levitt of The Freakonomics Blog say that people over estimate their use of gym facilities by 70%.
But why break a sweat looking at your bank account balance when you could be breaking a sweat for cheap or even for free. Look, we're going to tell you what the gyms probably don't want you to know, there are ways to hack the exercise oligarchy and we're going to show you some of the best of these.
"[This] promises a robust allergy season,'' Leonard Bielory, an allergy and immunology specialist with Rutgers Center for Environmental Prediction in New Jersey, told The Huffington Post.
The reason is climate change and the "Stacking Effect" it creates. When the weather is unseasonably warmer than usual tree pollen levels go up, only to continue to rise and fall as the temperature does the same. Finally, when the excess tree pollen created by the warmer than normal temperatures meets the pollen normally created in the spring months, this creates the stacking effect of more and more pollen over a longer than normal period of time, which becomes hell for any chronic allergy sufferer.
The allergy season is apparently going to be particularly bad in the northeast covering Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa, Boston, New York and New Jersey due to particularly wacky weather and of course, Hurricane Sandy. The late fall early spring combination has mixed with the extra moisture and carbon dioxide in the air to nourish the trees, produce more pollen and more mould spores.
Even though it's certainly going to be an uphill battle this allergy season, you can survive it and we'll tell you how.
Spring's on its way in, but -- if the Daily Finance offices are any indication -- we're not out of the woods yet. For the past few weeks, several writers at AOL's New York headquarters have been fighting off the last of our winter colds and desperately trying to stay healthy with immune systems that have been ravaged by the last few months of wintry chill.
It's actually not all that surprising that a cold epidemic seems to be sweeping through New York. With seasonal changes on its way, freezing weather is alternating with periodic bursts of pollen-clogged sunny days, creating a mix that manages to devastate both those with allergies and those who are hovering on the edge of illness. To make things worse, the shift back to daylight savings time translates into a lot of people who are waking up in the dark and trying to deal with circadian rhythms that are now out of whack.
But don't worry -- help is on the way. I've put together a list of five items, all of which cost less than five bucks, that can help you get over the last of the winter blahs.
Good luck and keep your fingers crossed for spring!
It's not your imagination. Increasing numbers of businessmen over age 50 are opting for, shall we say, 'facial rejuvenation'. This may simply come in the form of a spa facial or even some lunchtime Botox injections where you're back at work in an hour. Others may feel the need for a real pick-me-up: a facelift, or rhytidectomy.
They begin to consider the operation when those once-handsome smile lines become droopy jowls, where the one or two wise crinkles around the eyes have become crows feet from a whole flock. And hey – if a facelift is good enough for Kenny Rogers and Bruce Jenner...wait, maybe it's best not to go there.
My journey began when, at age 53, I decided to finally do something about the broad range of scarring that adolescent cystic acne had left on my face. (I don't mind having jowls and crows feet if my skin could be smoother.) After all, one's face is the first impression one gives to the world.