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December 2, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review

High Court to decide if you should own your DNA

By Marcy Darnovsky and Karuna Jaggar




A case before the U.S. Supreme Court today is challenging two patents. It has enormous implications for both our health and shared humanity


http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | (MCT) Most court cases involving patent law are corporate battles, with one company suing another for infringing on its intellectual property rights and, therefore, profits. Big companies fighting over big money can seem painfully irrelevant, especially when so many of us are simply struggling to get by.

But the case coming before the U.S. Supreme Court on today challenging two patents is a different animal, with enormous implications for both our health and shared humanity. The patents in question are on two human genes, BRCA1 and BRCA2, commonly referred to as the "breast cancer genes."

We all have these genes in the cells of our bodies, but certain variants in some people significantly increase the risk of breast and ovarian cancer. Learning whether you have these risk-elevating mutations can be important because it gives you the opportunity to consider increased surveillance (such as cancer screenings and mammography) and even surgery to remove healthy organs.


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The patents give one biotechnology company, Myriad Genetics Inc., sweeping control of the two genes. Myriad's monopoly harms women's health, impedes cancer research and raises important ethical questions about control over the human genome.

Myriad's patents cover both the normal versions of the genes and all mutations and rearrangements within them. This monopoly has prevented other scientists and doctors from using the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes in research, medicine, diagnosis and treatment.

With revenue from the patents approaching half a billion dollars a year, Myriad frequently restricts access to these genes. It sends cease-and-desist notices to prevent other researchers from working with them.

Myriad's strict patent enforcement means its test is the only available one to determine whether a woman has a genetic variant that increases her risk of cancer. Women cannot get a second opinion about the results, even when faced with a decision about removing healthy organs to reduce their cancer risk. And too many women cannot even have the test because it is too expensive.

Furthermore, since Myriad's test focuses on the variants that have already been identified, some women, especially women of color, are more likely to get ambiguous results. They are told they have a genetic variant but that Myriad doesn't know whether it increases their risk of cancer.

The lawsuit before the Supreme Court today has united women's health organizations, research groups, genetic counselors and breast cancer patients. The American Civil Liberties Union and the Public Patent Foundation, the lead plaintiffs, make a straightforward argument (full disclosure: Breast Cancer Action is also a plaintiff; Center for Genetics and Society has signed several briefs): U.S. case law and patent statute plainly say that patents can be awarded only for human inventions.

Genes are not inventions but products of nature. You can't patent the sun; you can't patent a new species of insect you find in a forest; you can't patent the speed of light. And you cannot patent human genes.

Beyond U.S. patent law lie broader questions: Should we treat human genes as private property to be exploited for profit rather than shared resources managed in the public interest? Should we allow corporate ownership to penetrate deeply into areas previously considered outside the commercial realm?

Several international organizations have taken up these questions, declaring the human genome part of the "commons" — akin to the moon and the air we breathe. The Universal Declaration on the Human Genome and Human Rights, ratified by the U.N. General Assembly in 1998, states that the human genome "is the heritage of humanity" and "in its natural state shall not give rise to financial gains." In 1999, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe declared that "neither plant-, animal- nor human-derived genes, cells, tissue or organs can be considered as inventions, nor be subject to monopolies granted by patents."

The World Medical Association, an umbrella for 84 national medical associations, states that "human genes must be seen as mankind's common heritage."

Despite these strong declarations and the robust legal precedent for limiting patent protection to inventions, much of the human genome has been patented in a rush to profit from the incredible amount of information our genetic makeup holds, often to the detriment of our health. We believe there has been a misapplication of patent law, as acknowledged by the U.S. solicitor general's amicus brief on our behalf.

It was not always this way, and it need not stay this way. In 1955, Jonas Salk, who had invented the polio vaccine, was asked who owned the patent on the vaccine. "The people," he replied. "There is no patent. Could you patent the sun?"

A ruling in favor of the plaintiffs in this landmark case could effectively outlaw human gene patents. It would be a victory for all who put the public's health and interests above efforts to privatize what all of us should share. And it would restore our genomic heritage, the very DNA in our bodies, to the rightful owners — the people. ———

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Marcy Darnovsky is executive director of the Center for Genetics and Society. Karuna Jaggar is executive director of Breast Cancer Action. They wrote this for the Los Angeles Times.


© 2013, Los Angeles Times Distributed by MCT Information Services

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